January 5, 2010 9:30:00 AM
Kristin Mamrack -
Funding Lowndes County''s neighborhood parks and recreation is as important as funding economic development, District 4 Supervisor Jeff Smith said Monday, repeating a request earlier made by District 5 Supervisor Leroy Brooks to the Lowndes County Board of Supervisors.
On Dec. 30, Brooks suggested the county give Artesia and Crawford better recreational opportunities by using $200,000 -- $100,000 for each community -- of $3 million budgeted for a new Justice Court building.
No action was taken on the proposal and Smith again brought up the matter during Monday''s board meeting, at which Brooks was absent.
Noting Crawford and Artesia are "some of the worst sites in all the recreation sites we''ve got," Smith asked the supervisors to tour the facilities in each community.
"This is a new year," he said. "I have great hopes for this board. Don''t let us be the ones to stop this progress."
"There''s been a commitment of $4.7 million for recreation," Board President and District 1 Supervisor Harry Sanders said, referring to the supervisors'' earlier verbal commitment to spend $3.25 million on the development of a soccer complex, which has been likened to a downtown park, for the Burns Bottom area and the county''s commitment to spend $850,000 on a $1.6 million plan to renovate or improve neighborhood parks in the county. "I don''t think we have to add more to it."
Sanders suggested reallocating money already committed to the neighborhood parks renovations to give more to Crawford and Artesia, instead of committing new funding.
"Artesia has the newest community center in the county," he added. "I don''t know why you have to spend another $100,000 on Artesia."
"It was very poor planning in building that smaller building in Artesia," Smith responded. "We don''t need to cut down on the size of these (proposed) facilities, because we''re planning for the long-term. We''ve just done enough to get by. We''re making decisions today on long-term investments.
"Give community development the same concern, the same interest we''ve given industrial development," he continued. "We can''t have one without the other. We can''t lift up one and let the other fall apart. Let''s invest in the people."
The supervisors agreed to set a date, by their Jan. 15 meeting, on which they can tour the recreational facilities in Crawford and Artesia.
In other matters, the board:
The county already has spent between $35,000 and $40,000 on the development of a comprehensive plan by an Oxford-based firm, Bridge and Watson, but work has not been done on the plan recently, noted County Administrator Ralph Billingsley.
Armstrong said the city likely will contract with a Birmingham, Ala., company, KPS Group, Inc., for development of a comprehensive plan at an expected cost of $60,000 to $75,0000.
No action was taken on Armstrong''s request; the supervisors likely again will discuss the matter during their Jan. 15 meeting.