Vidalia vision for recreation becomes reality

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 2, 2009

VIDALIA — The board of directors of Recreation District No. 3 will have a special meeting Thursday to take the first step in getting the new Vidalia-area recreation complex built.

The meeting, which will be 6 p.m. at the Vidalia recreation center, will be to officially sign a contract with engineering firm Bryant Hammett and Associates.

“This is the first concrete step, other than purchasing the land, toward making this a reality,” Recreation District No. 3 President Marc Archer said.

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“We are pretty excited about it. This is something we have been working on for five years.”

Once the contract is signed, the recreation district will be able to pursue financing, Archer said.

The recreation district is supported by a 10-year, 3.87 mil tax.

“We are proud of the fact we will be able to make this dream a reality without raising taxes more than we already pay with the millage,” Archer said.

Some rough plans for the complex have already been laid down, and it includes baseball, softball and soccer fields, as well as basketball and tennis courts, Archer said.

Bathrooms, concession stands and parking have also been included, he said.

Until the contract is signed, Archer said the district has not been able to schedule public hearings because the engineers will also attend the hearings to answer technical questions residents have.

But when the contract is signed, the first hearing should be scheduled within a couple of months, Archer said.

“Part of the public hearings is to get public feedback to where we may go back to say, ‘We need to add this in here,’” he said.

Three public hearings will be conducted.

“We are ready to move on this thing, and this is the way to make it happen,” Archer said.

The new recreation complex will be located on 50 acres of land near Walmart.

As part of an intergovernmental agreement, the recreation district bought 20 acres and the City of Vidalia bought 30 acres on adjacent tracts, and Vidalia leased their tract to the district.

The land was purchased at a cost of $17,000 an acre.