Recreation plans moving forward

Published 12:00 am Friday, August 6, 2010

VIDALIA — Recreation District No. 3 President Marc Archer said Thursday he hopes to see the start of construction on the new recreation complex at Vidalia by November.

“It is going to happen, and it is going to happen quickly,” he said.

Archer was the featured speaker at the Ferriday Rotary Club’s meeting Thursday, and he told the Rotarians the No. 1 question he gets about the complex is when construction will commence.

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“We are ready to dig a shovel tomorrow,” he said.

“We are ready as soon as we get a final set of plans and sign off on it.”

While the general scheme of the complex has been decided, Archer said some details — such as the exact placement of the tennis courts and how many parking spaces will be included in the parking lots — are still being discussed with consultants.

One issue the complex will have to address is a high-pressure interstate pipeline Rentech hopes to use that runs directly through the property on which the complex will be built, Archer said.

Rentech is a coal-to-liquid fuel company planning to locate in Adams County.

While recreation officials have been told there should be no problem with the complex as long as they don’t build a permanent structure over the pipeline, Archer said the recreation district will have to get a letter stating that before building.

The facilities the recreation district currently uses will likely be torn down once the new complex is complete, Archer said.

“We don’t want to have to keep those facilities up because of the maintenance and liability (issues),” he said.

The district is considering leaving some of the backstops from the fields up so the area can be used for team practices, he said.

The property the current complex is on is worth between $750,000 and $1 million, but the district does not have any plans to sell it, Archer said.

The recreation district would like to keep the concession stand operations at the new complex the same way they are now, with the individual leagues operating the concession stands, he said.

“We really want to stay out of the program game,” Archer said. “We furnish the facilities, and we let (the leagues) run them.”

The new recreation complex is a joint project between the recreation district and the City of Vidalia.

“For years, the city and the recreation district butted heads trying to do their own thing, but we are working together to make this happen,” Archer said.

The complex will be built on 50 acres of land, 20 purchased by the district and 30 purchased by the city. The city has leased the property it bought to the recreation district long-term.

The city will also be building a city park next to the recreation complex, which will include an additional baseball and softball field, Archer said the city fields will be utilized by Vidalia High School.

The city park will be connected to the new Vidalia municipal complex, which will be adjacent to the recreation complex.

All of the new construction will be on U.S. 84 West, behind the Kaiser station and Walmart.