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News Rec park at Parker Meadows could be completed by next spring

A new recreation park facility will increase the number of practice fields for players of all ages.The Parker Meadows Recreational Complex may be finished sooner than originally expected. Last week, Macon County Recreational Director Seth Adams and County Planner Matt Mason presented commissioners with three development options for the Parker Meadows property.

The preliminary proposal for the recreation complex was designed to comply with county’s obligation of the Parks and Recreation Trust Fund (PARTF) grant. Macon County received $500,000 in PARTF funds for the development of the project. After reviewing the plans, Adams and Mason found that the county stands to save a significant amount of money in the long run if they develop the complex all at one time, versus in phases over time. The three proposals are each a little more in depth than the one proposed before it, eventually building up to the final option, which includes a full scale, completed recreation facility.

Currently, to fulfill the obligations of the PARTF grant, the county has to develop a complex that includes two adult ball fields with dugouts, soccer field, playground, shelter with bathrooms, 60 space parking area, 2,200’ walking trail and renovations to the existing clubhouse on the property. The price tag to fully comply with the requirements of the PARTF grant is estimated to cost $623,315. With the PARTF grant totaling $500,000 the county will pay $123,315.

The additional three options for the park, each option building on the basic obligation park, significantly increase the upfront cost, but are intended to save money over time. Option one creates a more user friendly option that includes all of the features in the county’s current obligation, and adds an extra access road to the parking lot, a central building with bathrooms, concessions stands, and scoring and lighting for two fields. This option is expected to cost about $1,104,815, with the county paying $604,815 after deducting the PARTF grant funds.

Option two further expands on the first option by adding two additional adult fields complete with dugouts, 7,000 square feet of multi-use courts, and 200 space parking area. The second option is projected to cost the county $1,248,815, after deducting the PARTF funds. The second option will create a facility and parking spaces to accommodate large baseball and softball tournaments.

The third and final option will encompass all of the features in the first two options, and will add three 220’ youth fields, one 150’ youth field, central building with bathrooms, concessions, scoring, two parking areas, and completion of an access road and construction of a new maintenance building. With option three designed to be the complete project and a final design option, Adams and Mason believe this option will provide Macon County residents with a state-of-the-art facility with the ability to have a significant economic impact on the community. The total price tag for the complete facility is estimated to be $2,989,315, and after the $500,000 PARTF grant, will cost the county $2,489,315.

If the project is completed at one time versus in phases, the county stands to save $256,000 in lighting costs alone.

Macon County’s Economic Director Tommy Jenkins explained to commissioners that the development of the complex is expected to have a substantial economic impact on the county by attracting large youth and adult baseball and softball tournaments. Jenkins explained that local businesses will benefit from the tournaments because those travelling to Macon County for the tournaments would be putting money into the local economy. Adams noted that revenue made on the recreation park’s concessions stands would be complete revenue for the county. Similar counties with similar recreational parks on average net $3,000 a day in concessions alone.

Commissioner Paul Higdon asked Adams to configure the cost of the continuing operations for the recreational complex. Adams admitted that at least three new employees would be needed to manage the new site, as well as equipment needed to maintain the park, which is projected to cost $60,000.

Commissioner Jimmy Tate requested a more detailed traffic study be done to investigate the volume of vehicles that will be using Patton Road and Maxwell Home Road once the park is complete. Adams informed Tate that a solution to the traffic concerns had been developed, but he would further study the matter.

Adams informed commissioners that he and Mason can work to get operational figures for an estimate on the new facility, while still being able to maintain the current parks.

In a unanimous vote, commissioners gave county manager Derek Roland the go ahead to begin the permitting process to allow for initial development on the property. After the permits have been approved by the state, the county will have to begin construction of the park within a year. If the project is not completed in phases, and instead commissioners vote to approve option three, Adams said the project would be completed as early as next spring or early summer.

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