When resident John Draper drove by Denny Dobbs Park off Ga. Highway 212 last weekend, he saw the area "completely engulfed in people."
Draper spoke to the Newton County Board of Commissioners at Tuesday’s meeting about a scene he called "unbelievable" with tents, grills and people covering the park.
"They had the entire park (occupied)," Draper said. "There is no way anyone could go over there with their family or walk around by themselves."
Draper said that he didn’t know if they were breaking any laws, but asked, "How do you take over the entire park?"
He said he heard budget cuts had caused the cancellation of patrols by a deputy, but Commissioner Lanier Sims said later in the meeting that he was out at the park a couple of weeks ago on Father’s Day and saw a deputy there. However, he agreed to examine the situation of the huge crowds.
Draper said there was evidence of people doing burn-outs in the parking lot.
Factory Shoals Park
Commissioner John Douglas said he had a good visit recently to Factory Shoals Park, off Newton Factory Bridge Road, but said the county needs to raise awareness in light of another drowning death.
Douglas suggested possibly putting a sign at the entrance that says, "No Lifeguard Present," or something similar.
People swim at the pool-like area below the shoals on the Alcovy River, which is accessible from the park.
He said the park was a "diamond for Newton County" and he didn’t want to go overboard, but thought more cautionary signs might be a good idea.
Sims helped organize a county employee appreciation day and automobile show recently and honored some of the longest-serving employees.
He said the county has a few employees who have been with the county for more than 37 years, and has 89 employees who have been with the county more than 15 years.
At Tuesday’s board meeting, he honored Freddie Ellis, who has been with Newton County Animal Control for 23 years.
Rising Newton High School Javarus Stokes led the pledge of allegiance at Tuesday’s board meeting.
A basketball player, computer whiz and one of the nicest, most polite young men around, according to Chairman Keith Ellis, Stokes is interning with Newton County this summer through the Workforce Investment Act program.