Would someone please tell me why the Colquitt Packers are shown to be from Norman Park, GA? — From The Observer’s Rant and Rave

The Colquitt County Board of Education bought land on Darbyshire Road in 2001 and began developing the athletic area known as Packer Park there in 2005. Whether the adjacent land was always intended as the site of the next Colquitt County High School is questionable, but there certainly were rumors to that effect when Packer Park was being built and that’s how it turned out to be. Despite opposition that wanted the new high school on Veterans Parkway, the board voted in 2013 to build it on Darbyshire Road at Doc Darbyshire Road.

The U.S. Postal Service locates land based on ZIP codes — the acronym stands for Zoning Improvement Plan. The plan was implemented in 1963 as an effort to help mail move faster. Each post office is responsible for delivering mail to specific ZIP codes. The ZIP code where the high school was built — 31771 — is served by the Norman Park Post Office.

Since the Norman Park Post Office handles mail for Colquitt County High School, CCHS’s address is Norman Park.

But the school isn’t in Norman Park. It’s in Moultrie. … Isn’t it?

No, actually it’s in the unincorporated area of the county, less than a mile outside the Moultrie city limits.

In 2013, the school system requested the land be annexed into the city, but an Observer article in June of that year said the Planning Commission had tabled the request because there had been no independent traffic study of the area.

It appears the City of Moultrie wanted the school system to do the traffic study before it would annex the school site, and the school system refused, possibly because of the expense or possibly because it would mean a delay in construction. But no story in the Observer archives clearly states that, and the issue predates the hiring of both the current Moultrie city manager and the current Colquitt County school superintendent.

“At the time this was done the two organizations were not managed by individuals with a Moultrie commitment,” City Manager Peter Dillard said. “If this happened today the two parties would work together to make sure each organization was doing what was best for the community.”

School Superintendent Doug Howell agreed. “We work very well together,” Howell said. “I can’t speak to times past.”

In fact, the City of Moultrie ran water and sewer lines to the site in expectation of it being annexed. The city provides those services to the school to this day, although Georgia Power won the bidding process to provide electricity.

In fairness to the city, the school’s location does offer traffic challenges, and the site’s opponents were trying to make traffic there a political issue.

When the school was built, Darbyshire Road dead-ended at Doc Darbyshire with a stop sign. Students parked behind the school and exited onto Doc Darbyshire. While that road goes in both directions, the part to the right of the school was narrow and couldn’t handle much traffic, so administrators forced the students to turn left toward Veterans Parkway.

Meanwhile, parents leaving the front parking lot after picking up their students had to either turn left across traffic onto Darbyshire to head toward Cool Springs Road or turn right onto Darbyshire to get to the stop sign at Doc Darbyshire; from there they had to join the throng heading toward Veterans Parkway.

Buses used a different exit but still faced the left-or-right choice on Darbyshire, and complicating everything were more parents arriving (via both Darbyshire and Doc Darbyshire roads) to turn into the front lot to pick up their children.

Since the school opened, Darbyshire Road has been extended to meet Veterans Parkway to give drivers an additional route to leave campus.

But even now, when school lets out, Colquitt County sheriff’s deputies have to direct traffic at the school’s entrance, at the intersection of Darbyshire and Doc Darbyshire roads, and at the intersection of Doc Darbyshire Road and Rowland Drive to get students out safely.

Had the annexation been approved, the school’s address probably would have been Moultrie, but it wouldn’t have been automatic. A Postal Service spokesman said cities can request the Postal Service to modify ZIP code boundaries. With the school in a different ZIP code, its mail would be handled out of the Moultrie Post Office, so its address would be Moultrie.

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