By Meredith Pruden

Shortly after purchasing the 12 parks within its city limits from Fulton County early last December, Sandy Springs officials were surprised to hear that the county was going to remove much of the equipment from the Hammond Park indoor recreation facility.

It seems the Fulton County Recreation and Parks officials did not consider the equipment to be included in the purchase price of the parks. That left the city of Sandy Springs with a somewhat empty recreation building at Hammond Park and facing a price tag of about $40,000 to replace the equipment.

“I’m coming into this at the 11th hour,” said Sandy Springs Recreation and Parks Director Brad Chambers. “But I think their rationale was that the sale of the parks to Sandy Springs was for the parks not for the equipment within the park.”

The equipment that was removed included predominantly gymnastics and volleyball equipment, tables, chairs and bleachers. Most of it now has been replaced, according to Chambers.

According to Sandy Springs Mayor Eva Galambos, Fulton County had already removed items from the city’s newly acquired fire stations as well. However, Hammond Park is the only Sandy Springs recreational facility from which items were removed since, as Chambers pointed out, it is the only indoor facility.

The city of Sandy Springs, according to Galambos, did offer to purchase the equipment from Fulton County for its current value, but Fulton County refused the offer. Galambos said she believes there has been “a lot of animosity on the part of the Fulton County commissioners on the formation of Sandy Springs,”

Fulton County Recreation and Parks was unavailable for comment at press time, but its officials have previously gone on record saying the department simply wanted to reallocate the equipment to programs elsewhere in the county.

In the end, Chambers said he doesn’t believe the Sandy Springs recreational programs, which were starting at the time, were adversely affected by the removal.

“As soon as we knew it was going to happen we started ordering things, and we’re back up and running,” he added. “It was a little inconvenient, but it didn’t really impact the program. We’re 99 percent whole again and looking toward the future.”