Recreation complex is progressing

Published 12:35 am Monday, August 2, 2010

The purpose of this column is to update the people of Adams County on the progress of the Natchez-Adams County Recreation Commission. As you will see we are working diligently to make the proposed recreation complex the best we can possible have.

Since the election that featured a non-binding referendum regarding recreation, which was passed by 78 percent, the school board, the board of aldermen, and the board of supervisors have appointed three members each to form the nine-member NACRC board. This nine-member board has been meeting weekly to work on the recreation complex.

This board has achieved a lot in the last couple of months. We have visited other recreation parks such as the one in St. Francisville, La., to get a better idea of what worked for them and what did not.

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One of the big hurdles that the board has overcome is attaining a more stable lease on the “bean field” property. This property is currently owned by the Natchez Trace Parkway, a division of the National Park Service.

The City of Natchez effectively has 42 years remaining of a 50-year lease on the property, but there was an ominous 60 day cancelation clause in the lease. The recreation board has met with the superintendent of the Natchez Trace Parkway and he has agreed to take that clause out of the lease. He is very much in support of this project.

Additionally, we have requested the input of certain user groups to get public opinion on different sports. We have written to our congressional delegates to update them on the progress of the project, and we have been working to keep the school board, the board of aldermen, and the board of supervisors up to date.

So what’s next? We have selected a recreation specific landscape architect to develop the layout and the conceptual drawings for the complex, and we are currently applying for a grant that will help pay for these services. Once that is complete the board will hold a public forum to get input from the people of Adams County. After that we will move forward with the engineering of the facility and work toward construction.

In response to some of the recent things said in newspaper, I would like to clear a few things up. Mr. Clarence Bowlin refers to the recreation board cutting funding to local sports programs. It is the Adams County Recreation Board that funds these programs, and not a part of the Natchez-Adams County Recreation Commission. They do a very good job with a very small budget and sometimes capital improvements are necessary.

Unfortunately, this building process is not as fast as most of us would like it to be. The board is working very methodically to make sure that the end product of this recreation complex is the best that it can possibly be and that it truly fills the needs of the people of Adams County. We have pursued input from professionals all over the country, and are currently striving to understand every aspect of this project.

I would personally like to commend this board of appointed volunteers for all their hard work, and thank everyone who has helped get the recreation complex to the point that it is at now.

Tate Hobdy is the chairman of the Natchez-Adams County Recreation Commission.