The Union Recorder

Editorials

June 21, 2014

Prioritizing rec essentials helps improve the program in steps

MILLEDGEVILLE — Baldwin County officials this week outlined a list of upgrades and projects aimed at putting new life into local recreation programs.

The list includes façade improvements, repainting and landscaping, which is all projected for completion within the next two years through 1-cent sales tax funds.

While this list doesn’t include everything any of us would desire, it is a starting point and a realistic goal given the amount of funding available.

More importantly, however, this list sets a direction for Baldwin County Parks and Recreation — a very big step in the rebuilding effort.

Not only will completing this list of projects help improve the outward appearance of local facilities, it will also go a long way in strengthening public perception of the local recreation programs. This, too, can potentially go a long way at a time when efforts are underfoot to boost parental involvement and rebuild the volunteer associations for each sport. Allowing the community to see that the county is willing to invest in improvements will undoubtedly build confidence in the direction the recreation department is heading.

Another positive is the fact that the priority list of projects is not centralized in one area; instead the list includes projects and improvements for recreation facilities throughout the county where a number of people can benefit through a variety of sports and activities. The list includes projects at the Walter B. Williams complex, Harrisburg Park and Coopers Park.

This list isn’t intended to address every need and concern within the local recreation programs — it’s a realistic starting point. On average since the 2012 SPLOST collections began, the county collects $24,500 monthly for recreation spending. As mentioned Tuesday evening the list is something to build upon, a wise spending approach when the funds just aren’t there. Still, as Commissioner Henry Craig noted, the county has a legal and moral obligation to maintain the standing recreation facilities, which are supported through taxpayer dollars.

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