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Lyons City Council Reviews and Looks Ahead During Weekend Retreat

A January weekend retreat gave the Lyons City Council members, leadership and city department heads time to review 2020’s accomplishments and hurdles, and to look ahead at projects planned for this new year. “The common thread throughout all the presentations was the impact of COVID-19,” said City Manager Jason Hall. Decisions that were necessary for the safety of citizens negatively impacted programs and operations.

One such area of operation was at Partin Park and the suspension of the 2020 baseball-softball season. Further into the pandemic, it was possible to continue other programs. Rentals with the Lyons Recreation Department (LRD) were down 28%, even with the addition of The Depot as an event space. This year’s baseballsoftball registration at Partin Park is going well, with numbers expecting to increase through last weekend’s registration deadline. LRD Program Coordinator Kendall Bennamon said the department “is hoping for a good season.” Hall added, “The addition of a disk golf course to Partin Park was a bright point in the presentation made by LRD James Mc-Gowan. By working with a course designer, the proposed course will have 19 holes and two different play patterns.” Another highlight of 2020 was the completion of the Land and Water Conservation Fund Grant project at Vincent Faison Park. This grant allowed the City of Lyons to renovate the recreation area bordered by Highway 152 and Hilton Drive where citizens can enjoy leisure activities such as walking trails, a picnic pavilion and basketball. At the Council retreat, Police Chief Wesley Walker presented reasons to increase funding for the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) and Code Enforcement Department. The need to keep a positive police presence in the City and to quickly resolve crimes requires a well-prepared CID. Also, consistently enforcing codes that will clean up and eliminate blighted areas of the City is a deterrent to crime. It was noted that the City currently maintains a low level of crime. Also, at the retreat, Georgia Municipal Association Economic Development Manager and Economic Placemaking Collaborative Program Manager Stephanie Russell facilitated discussion and plans with the Council on methods of enhancing the economic development of downtown Lyons. Among the topics she discussed were how to battle blight and place making economics, a theory for enhancing a business- friendly atmosphere that attracts new business. Council members plan to schedule Russell for a future local meeting.

At the February Council meeting, a mutually beneficial agreement was settled between the City of Lyons and the Toombs County Commission. The Lyons City Council, at its February meeting, approved the agreement to accept the current Emergency Management Agency (EMA) building from the County. The building is located between the Ross Bowen building and the Sheriff’s Office.

The Commission approved giving the building to the City at its January meeting. The City will dismantle the building and rebuild a portion of it on the Lanier Street property that serves as the City Fire Department. In this agreement, the City will house EMA emergency equipment, including extrication equipment, which is vital to public safety.

City Manager Hall said, “This move and agreement benefit both the County and the City. The City benefits by having easier access to the equipment. The County benefits by not having to find a location for the equipment.”

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