April 28, 2018 11:15:56 PM
Columbus Mayor and parks director: County fails to maintain Soccer Complex, aims to limit use
"... But soccer? Hell, they'll play in anything."
When the director of the Lowndes County Parks made this statement in Friday's Commercial Dispatch, it was both sad and discouraging; but telling.
The comment shows a lack of care, preparation and respect for citizen-owned Lowndes County soccer fields that hundreds of our citizens use each week. It is also a grave warning since Lowndes County Supervisors plan to vote Monday (tomorrow) to stop allowing city players to use the Soccer Complex. That means almost 22 less fields to use each week.
We write this letter today to express our concern and state the facts. There has been much misinformation concerning area soccer fields' ownership and maintenance. When Lowndes County decided to split from the city/county Recreation Authority last year, care of soccer fields was also divided.
The City of Columbus maintains the soccer fields at Joe Cook School and Propst Park. In all, the City of Columbus maintains 12 soccer fields. Lowndes County owns and maintains the Soccer Complex near downtown, about 22 fields. Prior to the split, all soccer fields were maintained by the combined Recreation Authority.
Drive by and look at the soccer fields the city maintains and then look at the Soccer Complex. With the second-largest soccer tournament in the state here this weekend, we are ashamed of the fields at the Soccer Complex. The lack of proper winter care is evident now. Then look at Joe Cook. All these fields experienced the same wet winter, but not the same care.
A Friday morning effort to drag three of the wet fields at the Soccer Complex by the county destroyed the fields and prohibited them from being used during the tournament. Why workers would attempt to drag a wet field is beyond comprehension.
On Monday, April 30, 2018, the Board of Supervisors plan to vote to stop use of the Soccer Complex by city soccer teams. This is disturbing since city residents are also county residents and pay county taxes. The County will then go forward with their own soccer program, hurting the city program that has operated successfully for years.
Politics have become a contact sport in our area with Lowndes County leaders voting 3-2 as often as they can to hurt the city of Columbus and its residents. Monday's vote is more of the same from the same three "leaders" of our county.
The soccer players and their parents and fans are the ones that will suffer the most, but always remember: "... But soccer? Hell, they'll play in anything."
Mayor Robert Smith and
City Parks Director Greg Lewis
Editor's note: Upon receiving this letter The Dispatch assigned a reporter to investigate the allegations made here. That story appears in today's paper.