Fort Oglethorpe Will Pay Penalties

FORT OGLETHORPE, GA (WDEF-TV) – Sometime next week the city of Fort Oglethorpe will remove a small concrete slab known as a cricket pitch.
It was laid 6 years ago on the polo grounds at Barnhardt circle, and it has resulted in a trial, an appeal—and now almost 90-thousand dollars in penalties for the city.
Cricket teams only played twice on the slab of concrete they paid to install at the edge of the polo grounds in Fort Oglethorpe.

RON GOULART,CITY MANAGER "The city voted to let them do it and we didn’t really think anything about it."

But that small slab on the grounds of the historic former home of the 6th Cavalry, touched off a 6 year legal battle between home owner Sharon Anderson and the city.

SHARON ANDERSON, RESIDENT OF BARNHARDT CIRCLE "It is a little piece of concrete but if you leave the concrete there, against the city charter, which is illegal..then who knows what they’ll be building next."

Anderson hired an Atlanta law firm to work pro bono in a lawsuit against the city.
After a trial in 2012, she prevailed, and the city was faced with paying 80-thousand dollars in fines—which is now almost 90-thousand because of an unsuccessful appeal.

RON GOULART "You know hindsight is always 20-20 and obviously my interpretation of the charter was incorrect and the jury so found. So,we will pay that."

Anderson says that settlement all goes to the lawyers—not her.
She says the whole 6 year ordeal was important to the future of the area because construction could jeopardize the historic designation of the area.
She and Goulart agree that the park should be open to all sorts of sporting and family events.

SHARON ANDERSON "We want people to use the area. Bring your family, play ball, have a picnic,it’s great…enjoy the area, but when it over, take your stuff with you."

RON GOULART "I really feel bad about it. If I’d had any idea it was considered construction , or obstruction, I certainly would have tried to intervene..a long, long time ago. "

The irony of that story is…the state of Georgia changed the Fort Oglethorpe charter earlier this year—and the city council can now legally vote to build or tear down anything at the polo ground.
But Goulart says they’ll go ahead and remove the concrete pad.

Categories: Catoosa County, Government & Politics, Local News

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