July 30, 2007 Albany -- Dougherty County leaders hope to revitalize Radium Springs and re-open it to the public in about a year. But some people who grew up enjoying the springs worry the plans don't take full advantage of the area.
Jeff Preseley has lived in Dougherty County since 1968 and has plenty of fond memories at Radium Springs. "I remember sneaking out here at night when I was 16-years-old and skinny dipping at night."
He hopes that one day today's generation will also get a chance to experience the springs too. "I think that every child should experience what its like to swim out in their natural surroundings. Its good for all kids."
The Dougherty County Commission do have plans to re-open Radium Springs next year with the completion of Phase I. "There will be landscaping, architect parking area, restoring the entrance gate and putting in sidewalks," says Richard Crowdis, County Administrator.
The plans also include planting a botanical garden, which the chairman thinks isn't utilizing the springs true potential. "The current plan just shows a wall and you look into the springs. What's it take? We already have a beach there. Lets add more sand and open it occasionally. Obviously, when the water levels get to a particular point, you can't swim there," said Commission Chairman Jeff Sinyard.
The springs have dried up four times in the past. State officials may not allow visitors to swim in the springs, though fishing is more likely to get approved. "A lot of things have changed over the years with labiality and lifeguards," Crowdis said.
Regardless, the Dougherty County commission says the new plans respects the history of Radium Springs. Phase one at Radium Springs will cost about one million dollars.
A company called MACTEC will be do the work and hopes the park will be open to the public by September 2008.