Vidalia to break ground on recreation complex

Published 12:04 am Tuesday, August 9, 2011

VIDALIA — When Marc Archer’s children were young enough to play sports in Vidalia, he always dreamt of sprucing up the city’s recreation facilities.

“I was involved in all the sports. I coached and was involved in my children’s leagues for years,” he said. “During that time I always knew the kids in the area needed a better place to play.”

Now, more than 10 years later, Archer and the Concordia Recreation District No. 3 are finally getting ready to see recreation in Vidalia improved.

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With crews already hard at work on the city’s new municipal complex on U.S. 84 next to Walmart, the district is preparing to break ground on Vidalia’s new $6.5 million recreation complex.

Archer, who serves as recreation board chairman, said the public is invited to stand in the shadow of the municipal complex at 9 a.m. Wednesday for the official groundbreaking.

“I don’t know about the rest of the board, but I am excited that we have reached this point,” he said. “We have been working on this for a long time, and even though there have been a few hiccups, we have worked hard through this and are ready to start the next step.”

Archer said the new complex will feature tennis courts, four baseball fields, four softball fields, covered and uncovered basketball courts, soccer fields and a number of other features.

“I don’t think people realize how major of an impact the recreation complex will have on a town of this size,” he said. “This is going to be major.”

Archer said the complex will be even more of an accomplishment since the recreation district managed to acquire funding for the project without raising taxes.

“Building the complex without raising taxes was something that we pushed for from the beginning,” he said. “It would have been very easy to raise taxes and not spend six years on this project, but we fought against that and got it done.”

Archer said of the approximate $6.5 million cost, the recreation district is paying approximately $4.8 million of the costs, with the City of Vidalia funding the remainder of the costs.

Womack and Sons Construction of Harrisonburg has already started work on the recreation complex, and Archer said they will continue after the groundbreaking.

“They have started some dirt preparation for the tennis courts and baseball and softball fields,” he said.

Archer said the contract for the complex stipulates the construction crew has 259 days to complete the project, not including bad weather days.

“We are looking at about a year on the completion of this project,” he said.

“We are hoping to get it ready by the end of baseball and softball season next year so we can play some All-Star games on the new fields.”

Archer said Vidalia Mayor Hyram Copeland and the board of aldermen will be on hand for the groundbreaking of the new complex that will be available for all the Miss-Lou to enjoy.