The county has 11 cell towers within its park system, producing an annual revenue stream of $970,745 from lease payments, said AikWah Leow, county spokeswoman.
“It enables the county to maintain the parks and the facilities that we have,” said Commissioner Helen Goreham, a tennis player herself.
All the money is used for park renovations. In 2010, it was also used for improving the county’s Cobblestone Golf Course in Acworth. The county has used cell tower dollars to improve its park system since 1997.
“We would have to spend the money to maintain the parks anyway, but it would come out of the general fund,” said county Chairman Tim Lee. “This is a way of instead of using tax money, we’re using cellphone money. Anyway I can spread it out to users and other revenue sources is good.”
Lee said he used to play tennis on the metro Atlanta tennis league called the Atlanta Lawn Tennis Association, or ALTA, although the last time he’s played was before running for office a decade ago.
“ALTA and some of the teams that play out there demand quality courts, so we have to try to keep up on it so they don’t start cracking and getting weeds coming through them and things like that,” Lee said. “And also safety. You don’t want people tripping over them either.”
Improvements will be complete by Jan. 1.
The board approved $663,831 for tennis court renovations at Bells Ferry Park, Big Shanty Park, Fullers Park, Larry Bell Park, Nickajack Park, Oregon Park, Rhyne Park, Sewell Park, Shaw Park, Sweat Mountain Park, Wallace Park and Wild Horse Creek Park.
The board approved $1.29 million for the replacement of playground equipment at East Cobb Park, Fair Oaks Park, Fullers Park, Harrison Park, Lost Mountain Lower Park, Nickajack Park, Noonday, Oregon, Powder Springs, Rhyne, Sewell, Shaw, South Cobb Recreation Center, Terrell Mill Park, Tramore Park and Wallace Park.
Another $9,500 was allocated for playground resurfacing at the Hubert Soccer Complex, Kennworth Park, Lions Park, Lost Mountain, Pitner Road Park, Sweat Mountain Park and Wildhorse Creek Park.