Plans for Vidalia recreation not fixed

Published 12:08 am Tuesday, December 18, 2007

VIDALIA — Though there has been some talk of it, there are no hard plans for a new recreation complex in Vidalia.

“I’ve been hearing a lot of information that’s not correct because it’s coming from other sources,” Recreation District No. 3 President Marc Archer said at a meeting Monday night.

What is true is that the City of Vidalia has approached him with a proposal for a new recreation complex, Archer said, but if something is going to happen, it is not going to do so before April.

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The proposed site for the complex is near Wal-Mart. An alternate proposed site is near the Alcoa plant.

“The city has said they are willing to spend $500,000, and the 50-acre tract of land we are looking at is selling for $17,000 an acre,” he said.

City of Vidalia representatives said in a recent city council meeting the city’s funding for the project would come from long-term leases on the Vidalia Riverfront.

If the recreation district buys the rest of the land — a cost of approximately $350,000 — the town will lease the remainder of the property to the recreation district.

“We would lease it from the city for supposedly something like $1 a year for 100 years,” Archer said.

If the district decides to buy the land, there are several matching-funds grants they can apply for, Recreation District No. 3 Park Director Mike Bowlin said.

“If it’s a $300,000 investment, that means we would get $150,000 back,” he said.

A lot of those grants are decided by who received them last, Bowlin said, and recreation district No. 3 hasn’t received a grant like that since 1977.

“We can do this (build a complex) without raising taxes one cent, and that’s something I’m proud of,” Archer said.

When it comes down to decision time, if the district goes through with plans for a new complex, they will have meetings with the public.

“It will be a process,” Archer said. “We’ll have to get plans drawn up, decide what goes into phase one and phase two, plus the discussion of what will go into this complex.”

And though the recreation district took no action on the matter, Archer asked the rest of the board to consider what they want to do regarding the purchase of land.

“With the purchase of this land we can’t go wrong,” he said. “If the complex doesn’t work out, the land can be sold, and with its location it will only appreciate in value.”