Hall County began evaluating potential sites for reservoirs in the early 1990’s as rapid growth began to indicate a future need for additional water sources. One of the sites identified was the North Oconee Reservoir site. The engineering work on that reservoir is near completion and construction will soon begin. Another site identified was the area known as the Glades Farm. Not only was the topography well suited for a reservoir, there was but one landowner to negotiate with and the property was largely undeveloped.
In 1993, the Mayr-Melnhof Holding Company that owns Glades Farm, began exploring potential uses for the land other than timber farming. Carl Goess-Saurau’s son, Franz Mayr-Melnhof (now deceased), represented the company and talked with community leaders. The county has since purchased 805 acres, roughly 11.5% of the Glades Farm property for a flow augmentation reservoir.
The reservoir is an important step in managing the growth of our community and supplying the future water needs of our citizens. Additionally, it complements long-established plans to develop water and wastewater infrastructure to serve the I-985 corridor north of Gainesville and Hall County’s desire to attract clean, high-tech industrial development to that area.
Property acquisition is just one step in a long process. The engineering, environmental and construction work required to build a reservoir takes years.
Glades Reservoir, located between Clermont and Lula, is a 733-acre reservoir in northeast Hall County. This reservoir and the 143-acre Oconee Reservoir should bring relief to Lake Lanier, metro Atlanta’s main source of drinking water. The Glades Reservoir will provide 4.5 million gallons of additional water a day.
In addition, Hall County is forming a plan to expand sewer services to the I-985 corridor. The plan addresses commercial and industrial development.
“Glades Reservoir is one of the most significant and positive projects that has ever taken place in the history of Hall County, especially since it is a public- private partnership,” said Greater Hall Chamber President Kit Dunlap.
“How fortunate that the Glades Woodland Farms family has invested in Hall County’s future. The Goess-Saurau family has cared for and improved this beautiful land for over 20 years. Their vision for the future is the same as ours… to have something to benefit this community and future generations. It is a great partnership.”
Under the terms of the $4.3 million project, the property’s owner, Austria-based Mayr-Melnhof Holding Company, will lease the 805 acres it has sold to the County and continue to grow timber on the land until construction begins. The company will have a 15-year option to build the reservoir and share with the county any revenue earned from selling the water to other municipalities. If the company declines its option to build the reservoir, Hall County will go forward with the project.
The county previously budgeted $5 million of sales tax money to buy the land at a negotiated price of $4.3 million.
Carl Nichols, president of Athens-based Southeastern Agribusiness Management, handles the day-to-day operations at Glades Woodland Farm for Mayr-Melnhof Holding Company.
“It is my pleasure to have assisted the property landowner for over 20 years and work with them to protect and enhance the Glades Woodland Farm property,” said Carl Nichols. “All the people of Hall County have an environmentally sensitive group for partners.”