Thursday, February 4, 2016

It's official: Resaca battlefield park transferred to Ga. county; will open in spring

(Georgia Battlefields Association)

An historic site that will use hiking trails and interpretive signs to tell the story of the Battle of Resaca during the Federal army’s push toward Atlanta reached a crucial milestone this week.

Gordon County in northwest Georgia on Tuesday evening formally accepted transfer of the completed site from the state Department of Natural Resources.

Ken Padgett, a leader of the Gordon County Historic Preservation Commission and Friends of Resaca Battlefield, told the Picket that a May 13 grand opening is set, with a soft opening expected in late March or early April.  

Resaca Battlefield Historic Site, off an exit of Interstate 75, will feature well-preserved trenches from both sides and most of the battlefield on the early afternoon of May 14, 1864. Late-afternoon action is on the east side of the interstate. While the battle was a stalemate, Confederates withdrew and Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman continued his eventually successful march on Atlanta.

Padgett said he expects the site to be open initially on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. There will be staff on hand, but no interpretive center.

The Gordon County Board of Commissioners’ acceptance of operations and maintenance of the park is welcome news for park advocates. For two decades, supporters of the site have been frustrated by false starts, permit problems, negotiations by state and local governments, construction delays and a massive road project at the interstate interchange at Resaca.

County Administrator John A. King told the Picket on Thursday a lot of work remains for the park to open, and the window for the “soft opening could possibly shift in either direction.”

King said officials are considering a traffic counting system as well as video surveillance options.

The Friends of Resaca said the vote was the culmination of a 20-year, "exhausting" effort.

"With the addition of the Resaca Battlefield Historic Site to a long list of key areas including, Fort Wayne Historic Site, the Resaca Confederate Cemetery, the WPA Roadside Park, the conservation easement property, and the State’s oldest annual Civil War Reenactment held the third weekend in May, we are looking for Gordon County to become a national tourist destination."

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