A 3-hour kayak trip on the Alcovy River by benefactor helped bring about land donation to City of Monroe

Update

Property included in the donation from Reliant Homes is between Highway 138 towards Rao Road and along the Alcovy River – the area marked in green.

The City of Monroe received a donation of 123.70 acres of land on the Alcovy River Monday, Dec. 21, 2020, from MFT Land Investments, an affiliate of Reliant Homes. The donation came from Darrell McWaters, owner of Reliant Homes and it came, according to a press release from MFT Land Investments, after McWaters took a 3-hour kayak trip down the Alcovy River.

“During a meeting between Reliant and city officials about a potential rezone proposal, Mayor John Howard and City Administrator Logan Propes described ideas for use of the Alcovy River. An idea derived from the ‘Young Gamechangers’ was to use and spotlight the Alcovy River and its beauty to further highlight the City of Monroe. Mayor Howard and Mr. Propes pitched the idea of kayaking down the Alcovy River as one way to showcase the river. That week, Reliant’s owner, Darrell McWaters, borrowed kayaks for a three-hour trip down the river to a takeout point on the property being donated.  That is when the vision was realized, and Mr. McWaters decided to make it reality,” the press release read.

This helps towards the vision that was suggested to Monroe officials by the Young Gamechangers, the group of young professionals who made Monroe a project of Georgia Forward in 2019.

“This is something we’ve been shooting for a while and we were lucky enough to have somebody who we could work with,” Howard said. “We had expressed that our long-term dream would be a park. This entire deal has been done with trust and a vision toward growing Monroe successfully into the future.”

The land donation is a 123-acre tract that has about 4,000 feet of river frontage. It would allow for kayaking entry and exit points, mountain biking trails, equestrian trails, walking paths, playgrounds, a frisbee golf course, or “many other things for the enjoyment of locals and visiting outdoor enthusiasts.” 

Howard said this donation “gives city officials a large blank canvas to construct a park for its citizens and to be an attraction to further showcase and give reason for people to come experience The Best Small Town in America.”

Initial story

Monroe City Council had a special called meeting Monday to accept what Mayor John Howard is calling the “largest ever gift of property to the city of Monroe.”

“Darrell McWaters and Reliant Builders today donated 123.70 acres along the Alcovy River. City Council was in session this afternoon to accept the gift,” Howard said in a Facebook post. “The future is bright for Monroe, and we appreciate the faith in the direction of the city by the donor.”

Howard said the plan is for a park that would include equestrian trails, frisbee golf, and use of the river for kayaking and canoeing.

The Gamechangers, a group of professionals who spent a year studying the City and what could be done to develop it, came up with a plan along these lines in a report they compiled at the end of their project last year. It was what they considered one of the really big ideas and would include developing a series of greenway trails and along a stretch of those greenway trails was a plan to develop a riverfront recreational area on the Alcovy River. This project would include a pickup and drop off point for kayaks and tubes, and a recreation area at one or both ends for restaurants and retail opportunities. It would include one of the connective trails along the riverbank of about 5.8 miles. A public/private partnership of about $6.9 million for the development of the recreation areas on the Alcovy River, the necessary river cleanup and a series of trails which could be done in stages over a 3 – 7-year time limit.

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