Hickory Log Creek Reservoir, located in northern Canton, is a partnership between Canton and Cobb County-Marietta Water Authority. Canton owns 25 percent and CCMWA OWNS 75 percent of the reservoir built at the cost of $100 million to provide drought relief for the two entities.
The public access area, which has been cut out near the intersection of Bluffs Parkway and Fate Conn Road, however, is a project funded entirely by the city of Canton.
Reservoir Manager David R. Hatabian said the bill came in at approximately $35,000. Most of that money, Hatabian joked, went to gravel the water-front parking lot where citizens began piling in last weekend.
Hatabian said 75 residents neglected to wait for the official opening ceremony and have already paid their $5 honor-system-collected fee over the weekend to take advantage of the reservoir, which allows manually and electrically powered boats and fishing.
Canton Mayor Gene Hobgood addressed citizens and city officials in attendance for the opening Friday morning, encouraging them to enjoy the vast waters.
Following the ceremony, Hobgood, who has in the past considered unloading Canton’s stock in the reservoir, said the city’s 25 percent has cost the tax payers nearly $27 million after interest.
“The whole thing has cost a lot more than anybody thought in the beginning,” he said.
When Hobgood entered into office, the city was roughly $60 million in debt and selling off shares seemed to be a smart way provided some relief, he said.
That amount will not be needed for many years down the road, but, with Canton’s debt being lowered to approximately $48 million by other means, Hobgood said he’s glad to still have the city’s shares intact.
“We know it will be a long time before we need it, but future generations will need it,” he said.
City Councilman Jack Goodwin agreed Friday morning that stock in the reservoir will be a benefit to Canton in the future.
“Water is such a precious thing to have,” he said. “You can’t make anymore of it.”
Unlike the reservoir, Hobgood said Hickory Log Creek’s new public access area may not be around for future generations to enjoy as the land it sits on is owned by real estate firm Technology Park Atlanta, not by the city of Canton. TPA, Hobgood said, could have the city move the access area if they had another use for the land.
Canton can now also use the reservoir for its intended purpose.
The reservoir met its final deadline for its 404 Permit with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on Dec. 31, which allows water to be released during times of drought.
The reservoir has also recently been granted a variance when it comes to how much a water release can affect water temperatures in the Etowah River.
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service originally wanted releases from the reservoir to only affect temperatures by 2 degrees at the point of discharge, but the variance allows a temperature change of up to 4 degrees at a sampling point about a mile downstream from the reservoir.
Meeting the 2-degree requirements would have required building an expensive system for water withdrawals.