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Ocmulgee National Monument, Macon County, Georgia

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The Issue

"Today part of the Ocmulgee Old Fields is preserved within the boundaries of Ocmulgee National Monument. In 1934, two thousand acres were authorized for the Monument; however, no federal money was appropriated to purchase the property. Efforts by local leaders raised sufficient funds to purchase several hundred acres in 1936. Through the years, other small parcels have been added until today the park encompasses 702 acreas. Most of the remainder of the Old Fields is still privately owned but relatively undeveloped. The Georgia Department of Transportation has proposed building a section of what is commonly referred to as the Fall Line Freeway, through the Old Fields."

This Ocmulgee Old Fields web page, from which has been taken the above statement, gives an account of ongoing opposition to the construction of the Fall Line Freeway through the Old Fields. A chronology is given, as well as a FAQs and Facts Sheet Page. More information is available at the site on the Dissection of the Eisenhower Extension Route, how the RDC Study is deeply flawed, and suggestions as to alternative routing.

Known as the "Fall Line Freeway" as it would connect the three major Georgia cities which lie along Georgia's fall line (Augusta/Macon/Columbus), one of the main beneficiaries of the road would be the military. The freeway would facilitate travel between Fort Benning near Columbus, Robins Air Force Base south of Macon (at Warner Robins) and Fort Gordon near Augusta.

The route is opposed by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the National Parks and Conservation Association, the Archaeological Conservancy, the Sierra Club, the Society for Georgia Archaeology, the Georgia Indian Council and Native Americans across the country, the Environmental Alliance for Central Georgia, the Center for Law in the Public Interest, Citizens for Responsible Government, Friends of Ocmulgee Old Fields, CAUTION Macon "and others who realize that if a road of such limited value can be bulldozed through this national treasure, nothing in this country is safe from local porkbarrel projects."

Online Sources for Reading:

Lindsay Dozier Holliday's The Fall Line Freeway vs. The Eisenhower Parkway Extension page answers 1) Where is the Fall Line Freeway? 2) Will the Fall Line Freeway actually increase the amount of traffic coming through Macon? 3) How much will Route 1-A cost and how will it be funded? 4) Have all possible routes for the Fall Line Freeway through Macon been considered? 5) Traffic congestion at I-75/I-16? New jobs? Revitalize Macon? 6) What does it mean that the land traversed by Route 1A is a Traditional Cultural Property? 7) What are some of the other impacts the highway will have on Macon's heritage resouces? 8) Is Route 1-A of the Fall Line Freeway linked to raising the Macon Levee? 9) What are some additional hidden costs of this project? 10) Why do certain Bibb County "leaders" want this highway so badly? 11) Who, besides the Muscogee (Creek) Nation, opposes the Route?

Action:

Lindsay Dozier Holliday's The Fall Line Freeway vs. The Eisenhower Parkway Extension page states "For more information or to express your concerns, send your messages to 'Freeway' at one of the addresses below. Your concerns will be forwarded for you to the Federal Highways Admin., Department of the Interior, the Muscogee (Creek) National Council, U.S. Congressman Saxby Chambliss, and the Mayor of Macon." Those addresses are: Mail: P. O. Box 4122, Macon, GA 31201; FAX: 912-742-4952 E-Mail; [email protected]

Other courses for action, described at mindspring.com/~teeth/epe.htm recommend writing the Secretary of the Interior voicing your opposition of any attempt to desecrate these sacred lands, and stating there are reasonable and feasible alternatives to construction of this road through the Old Fields.

They advise to also write your Congressman and Senators to tell them federal money shouldn't be appropriated for construction of a road through the Ocmulgee Old Fields. They request you ask opposition of any legislation that would exempt this project from the requirements of section 4(F) of the Department of Transportation Act. Section 4(F) requires that Georgia DOT demonstrate that there are no feasible and prudent alternatives to the proposed route.

Contact:

Lindsay Dozier Holliday gives himself as a contact. Mail: P. O. Box 4122, Macon, GA 31201; FAX: 912-742-4952 E-Mail; [email protected]

Friends of the Ocmulgee Old Fields may be contacted at [email protected]

Update: 2000 7 April the Macon Telegraph published the story DOT readies impact statement on Eisenhower extension in which it was stated April 17th was the goal date to send the document to the FHWA (Federal Highway Administration). "Early route proposals sent the highway through wetlands and property that the Muscogee Indian Nation has said is its traditional cultural property. That area is located near the Ocmulgee National Monument. On Thursday, Bibb County Engineer Bob Fountain said the Keeper of the National Registry, a federal office that determines historical boundaries, had upheld the Muscogee Nation's boundaries. This could affect some of the DOT's route proposals..."

Update: 2001 5 Feb Lindsay Holliday says that "There remain considerable resources focused on the completion of the road."

Update: 2001 11 Feb Lindsay Holliday has sent the following. If one follows the first link one will find information on current proposals for the Fall Line Freeway and counterproposals. A concern is comment preparation for a March 9th meeting in which the GA DOT brings their "informational" campaign on the Fall Line Freeway to the Macon city auditorium.

To: Tommy Olmstead
From: Lindsay Holliday
Subject: EPE will not reduce traffic on i16 - i75
Cc: "Clay, Calder III" ,
Charles Bishop distr 4

The Honorable Tommy Olmstead
Chairman, Bibb County Commission

Dear Tommy,

I read in last Sunday's paper [2-4-01 copied below] that you want to Extend Eisenhower Parkway EPE across the swamp and river to i16.

Because you were Mayor during the Great Flood of 1994, I do not need to explain to you that Macon has a drainage problem at the Ocmulgee River there during heavy rains.

I have summed up most of the serious problems of the EPE in a letter I wrote to the Telegraph that is webpublished at: hollidaydental.com/rollercoaster.htm

An additional letter promotes the TIME and $ benefits of TWO Alternate routes: mindspring.com/~teeth/2routes.htm

You may enjoy reading the chronology of the EPE at: mindspring.com/~teeth/timeline.htm

Please let me know if I can provide you with additional information.

Thanks,
- Liindsay
'Doc' Holliday

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- macontelegraph.com/content/macon/2001/02/04/local/olmstead.htm
Olmstead sees full plate of projects during first month
By Randall Savage
The Macon Telegraph

The Bibb County Law Enforcement Center was a new building with shiny floors and top-notch equipment that was in excellent working condition the last time Tommy Olmstead served on the County Commission.

But that was 21 years ago and things aren't so rosy at the LEC now. Neither is the county budget nor the extension of Eisenhower Parkway that's seen little progress in the last decade, Olmstead said.

Those projects and others are already on Olmstead's list of things that must be done. Olmstead, a Democrat, became chairman of the Bibb County Commission on Jan. 1. He spent his first month on the job, sizing things up. Now, he's ready to roll up his sleeves and get projects moving in the right direction.

"I've taken these first 33 days to kind of assess the whole picture," Olmstead said. "We have some real problems, and I'm ready to work with others to solve them." A few days ago, Olmstead toured the LEC. That's when he learned the facility isn't what it should be. "It's not just overcrowding," Olmstead said. "There's deterioration. The roof leaks, and we've got some maintenance problems."

During the next few months, Olmstead said, he'll work with the other four commissioners and Sheriff Jerry Modena to plot a course of action and begin making the needed improvements.

But the biggest task facing the commission, Olmstead said, is getting the budget ready for the fiscal year that begins July 1.

"The budget is probably going to be the toughest issue we'll face this year," Olmstead said. "It appears that Bibb County is going to have to work with the board of education in setting its millage rate again this year. This is going to be very time consuming."

Olmstead, along with other local officials, support proposed legislation that would to give the school board fiscal autonomy. The Bibb legislative delegation failed last week to get the change approved through local legislation. The three state senators - Robert Brown, D.-Macon, Susan Cable, R.-Macon, and Sonny Perdue, R.-Bonaire - want voters to decide the issue.

A referendum probably can't be held until the 2002 general election, officials say. But had the delegation approved the measure and run it through the General Assembly as local legislation, the school board would've been able to set its own millage rate this year. Besides setting the school millage rate, Olmstead said, the commission must break the three-year cycle of dipping into reserve funds to balance the budget.

Two years ago, Finance Director Bill Vaughn said, the commission took $250,000 from the reserve to balance the budget. Last year, Vaughn said, the commission took $2.4 million more from the reserve. The commission is on target to pull $4 million from the reserve to balance the current budget.

That means the reserve will be down to $14.2 million when the fiscal year ends June 30, Vaughn said. Dipping further into the reserve could jeopardize the county's bond rating, he said.

"This county has been living out of the reserve the last three (years)," Olmstead said. "We just can't continue to do this. I'm looking for ways to streamline operations and cut costs. I've asked all departments to look for ways to help us work on a plan where we can get back in line with our income."

But it's almost certain that a tax increase won't be a part of the budget-adjustment procedures. "I just don't believe the time is right for a tax increase," Olmstead said.

The time is right, however, to get the Eisenhower Parkway extension back on track.

"I'm going to the state and see if we can't get this thing going again," Olmstead said. "Nothing has happened on that in 10 years. We built the bridge over Seventh Street and over the railroad and nothing has happened since then. We really need to extend Eisenhower Parkway at least to Interstate 16. That would eliminate the need for a lot traffic having to go through downtown to get on I-16. We're going to try to fix that."

Several other projects are on Olmstead's agenda, such as selling off county-owned property that isn't needed. "The old fire station in Lizella has been replaced with a new one. We have some property on Lake Tobesofkee - lake front property. I'm going to be looking at the real estate to see if the county needs to own (it), " Olmstead said.

"It's been fun so far, and I'm looking forward to February and March," he said. We've got a lot to do, but there's lots of enthusiasm over getting it done," Olmstead said. "I believe Macon and Bibb County is on the verge of bursting out to be the center piece of Georgia, just like it should be."

To contact Randall Savage, call 744-4395 or e-mail [email protected]



Update: 2001 11 Feb Lindsay Holliday writes:

1.) hollidaydental.com/Alteroutes.jpg
The webposted image above is of a new proposed route for the Eisenhower Parkway Extension. It uses some new, and some existing roads. It does intrude some onto the perimeter of the ONM at the "Drakes Field" and the "McDougal Mound". If you would like to give me any comments, I will forward them, and/or post them if you desire. Thank-you, - Lindsay

2.) "Impacts of highway construction on the Ocmulgee Old Fields, Macon, GA" Drs Brian Rood and Laura Lackey, two Mercer professors, are going to give a research synopsis and environmental site assessment:

- Impact of I-16 and other development on the hydrology of the Ocmulgee Floodplain
- Impact of this construction on natural habitats along the river
- Tracing 9,000 years of natural and cultural history in carbon-14 dated peat deposits.

Presentation to be held at the Mercer University Law School, Rm 147, Wednesday Feb 21, 2001, 5:30 - 6:45 pm. The address below may have more information if the Mercer webserver is back online: mercer.edu/advancement/news/2001/0215ocmulgee.htm


Update: 2002 10 July 2002
National parks conservation group visits Ocmulgee mounds

Update: 2001 8-9 April
Go to the 2001 April 8 thru 9 update from Lindsay Holliday: EPE is NOT - The Fall Line Freeway


Update: 2001 9 April
Lindsay Holliday writes on Macon's ignorance of the Ocmuglee National Monument and the benefit Macon derives from it.

Update: 2001 1 May
"Barnes Gives Support to Road Project," By Randall Savage, Telegraph Staff Writer, 2001 May 1

Update: 2001 October 12
Fall Line Freeway Backers Seek Environmental Compromise

Update: 2002 January 31
Macon Telegraph lists completion of the Fall Line Freeway as 1 of its 10 top "Community Goals" for the year 2002.

Update: 2002 March 25
Monument in danger, group says Ocmulgee park on list of most-threatened properties



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