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Sandy Creek Park Oral Histories: George Chandler, July 21, 2005

Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies, University of Georgia
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00:00:01 - Introduction / Family life and education

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Partial Transcript: This is Sarah Duncan, interviewing George Chandler.

Segment Synopsis: Chandler talks about growing up in Winterville, his education as a civil engineer at Tennessee Tech, and his position as county engineer for Clarke County (1979-1985).

Keywords: Tennessee Tech; Winterville, Georgia; civil engineering; education

00:02:17 - Becoming involved with Sandy Creek project

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Partial Transcript: How did you get involved originally in the Sandy Creek project?

Segment Synopsis: Chandler discusses his involvement in engineering Sandy Creek Park after the initial construction of the dam. He describes the force account funding mechanism for the park and the local-level cooperation between county agencies. Chandler also talks about the park's phases of construction and changes and additions made to the original plans.

Keywords: Sandy Creek Park; civil planning; dam construction; fishing; force account; phases of construction

00:14:30 - Problem-solving on the job

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Partial Transcript: Do you remember some of those pieces of projects being more difficult than others?

Segment Synopsis: Chandler discusses the various problems he's encountered while working on the Sandy Creek Park project and the lessons he has learned in approaching future projects. He also talks about the challenge of obtaining informational resources while building the park and comments on the growth of information technology since then that has increased information accessibility.

Keywords: collaboration; communication; emergency; information technology; problem-solving; water treatment facility

00:26:20 - Contracting services and materials

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Partial Transcript: That was the next thing I was going to ask, where the construction materials came from.

Segment Synopsis: Chandler discusses the origin of the materials which were used in creating the park, most of which were locally-sourced but some of which were sourced from out of state. He also talks about borrowing county-owned equipment.

Keywords: borrowing; construction; equipment; locally sourced

00:32:45 - Manipulating the landscape / Self-directed projects

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Partial Transcript: What kind of condition was this land in after the Soil Conservation Service had sort of finished their project?

Segment Synopsis: Chandler discusses the landscaping of certain areas of Sandy Creek Park, which included land grating, tree planting, and preservation of existing trees. He also describes the bench-building project that he and the other workers on the project participated in.

Keywords: construction; land grating; landscaping

00:42:01 - Working with inmate labor on projects

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Partial Transcript: What was that like, working with the inmate labor?

Segment Synopsis: Chandler discusses his experience managing inmate laborers on the Sandy Creek Park project. He discusses his opinion about the prison work system, what the general public opinion was at the time, and the history of the prison work system in the county. Chandler also reflects on how working for the Clarke County Work Camp as a teenager interested him in becoming a civil engineer.

Keywords: Clarke County Work Camp; inmate labor; public opinion

00:56:29 - Funding mechanism for building the park

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Partial Transcript: What was your budget like for the park?

Segment Synopsis: Chandler talks about how the Sandy Creek Park was created as part of the watershed flood control initiative. He describes the kind of flooding events that occurred in Athens before the implementation of flood control measures. Chandler also describes the in-kind federal funding of county-financed projects.

Keywords: budget; flood control; in-kind funding; watershed flood control project

01:05:06 - County Support / Park features and visitors

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Partial Transcript: Did you work at all with the Oconee River Soil and Water Conservation District?

Segment Synopsis: Chandler comments on the general support of Clarke County for the Sandy Creek project and its relatively hands-off supervision. He also describes the additional features added to the park over time, including beach, picnic, and camping areas, a trail, and a fishing pier. Chandler mentions the meeting of the service international service organization Civitan at the park, but also perceives that many people in the county are unaware of the park's existence.

Keywords: Civitan International; camping; features landscape design; park visitors; recreation

01:17:13 - Park design / Work with Robert Farmer

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Partial Transcript: Back a few years, how closely did you work with Robert Farmer, who was the landscape architect who designed this area?

Segment Synopsis: Chandler discusses working with the landscape architect for the park, Robert Farmer, while constructing the park. He describes the type of changes that were made to the design through the construction process, and what the design priorities were for the park.

Keywords: Robert Farmer; budgeting; green space; landscape design; passive recreation

01:24:37 - Project scale and time commitment

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Partial Transcript: How big a project was this for the county?

Segment Synopsis: Chandler discusses the scale of the Sandy Creek Park project and its construction over the course of five years (1980-1985). He describes the types of work he and his crew were responsible for, and estimates the percentage of inmates versus county officials working on the project.

Keywords: construction; independent labor; prison labor; project scale; time commitment

01:32:03 - Reflection on park outcome and maintenance / Conclusion

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Partial Transcript: Have you done any projects like this since?

Segment Synopsis: Chandler compares the projects he has worked on since Sandy Creek Park. He comments on his personal philosophy of ownership and comments on the maintenance of the park since its construction. Chandler also talks about his visits to the park and his sense of pride at seeing visitors using the amenities.

Keywords: maintenance; park amenities; philosophy