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Warning signs placed at Factory Shoals
Warning sign at Factory Shoals Park IMG 0074

The new signs at Factory Shoals Recreation Park tell visitors to "SWIM AT YOUR OWN RISK" in all capital letters and warn there is no lifeguard on duty, as Newton County officials seek to prevent deaths like the drowning last month.

Newton County Chairman Keith Ellis said at last week's Board of Commissioners meeting that two signs had been posted at the county park, including at the park's entrance and at a path leading to the Alcovy River, and said a third sign would be posted at another path in the park.

When asked, Commissioner John Douglas said he didn't know if the signs made a difference in terms of lessening the county's liability, but he hoped thy would help to prevent drownings.

"The message is we hope people take the signs seriously. There have been a number of drownings out there over the years. There is no lifeguard; it's a dangerous place to swim. People need to take the signs seriously," said Douglas, who initially requested the signs.

"The signs put the burden on the swimmer and visitors ... to do the right thing," Douglas said.

The signs were made by the county's public works department, Ellis said.

A 14-year-old boy drowned in June while swimming in the pool-like area below the shoals on the Alcovy River, which is accessible from the park.

Newton County Coroner Tommy Davis previously said there have been five drownings at or in the general area around the shoals since 2009.

Douglas previously called the park a "diamond for Newton County" and said he didn't want to go overboard on regulations but thought more cautionary signs were a prudent idea.

He also said he hoped people would follow county law and not drink at the park.

"I want to remind people alcohol is not permitted in the park. Alcohol oftentimes contributes to accidents (out there)," Douglas said Tuesday.