The county board of commissioners approved an agreement with the Trust for Public Lands (TPL) for the purchase of a conservation easement on the Chitwood Farms property during their meeting Tuesday morning.
According to Suzanne Hutchinson-Smith, county attorney, TPL has completed all tasks in order to finalize the conservation easement on the property.
A conservation easement, according to Smith, is a “unique property right” which ensures that the property will be protected from development forever. To her knowledge, she said, this is the first conservation easement purchased for property in the county.
This conservation easement covers 473.48 acres of property on both sides of Chitwood Road, she said, and will be the site for Resaca Battlefield Park.
TPL purchased the land from the Chitwood family, according to Smith. Representatives from the Trust are meet-ing with the members of the Chitwood family who are interested in possibly buying back parcels of property, she added.
In the event of future sales, however, TPL will retain ownership of 10 acres of land, said Smith.
“That helps them (TPL) protect their investment on the property,” Smith said.
TPL will, however, be held to certain guidelines pertaining to the property. The county can have four events each year on the land, County Administrator Randy Dowling explained earlier this year, including the Battle of Resaca reenactment that takes place each May.
The funding for this purchase will be drawn from a $1.3 million grant from the American Battlefield Protection Program, funds from the Civil War Preservation Trust fund and $100,000 from Gordon County’s general fund, as required by the grant.
“That money has been approved in the budget and has already been set aside,” Hutchinson explained.
According to Dowling, the county’s portion of the funding was a budget amendment in July; it will come from general fund reserves.
Hutchinson said the county expects to close on the sale by the first weeks of next year, upon which time the deed of conservation easement will be conveyed to the county.