Recreation for community deserves serious consideration

Published 12:11 am Sunday, September 24, 2017

In the eight years since Adams County voters overwhelmingly threw their support behind a plan to build a new, state-of-the-art recreation complex, our community has little progress to show.

Approximately 78 percent of voters supported the idea of the city and county working together to build complex.

The vote was an amazing testament to the support to have something new for future generations to enjoy.

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Unfortunately in the years since that vote, the city and county elected leaders have failed to move the plan forward.

The city and county bickered for a while about how to fund the complex.

Then, eventually they agreed to work together and try and get politics out of recreation by forming the Natchez-Adams County Recreation Commission and ceding power to that entity.

That lasted barely long enough for the ink to dry on the agreement.

The city’s gotten into a power dispute with the YMCA organization that the recreation commission hired to help. The YMCA is now threatening to leave.

Now, the very site selected for the complex — the bean field site — may very well be given to the Natchez-Adams School District for a high school the same voters easily defeated in a vote earlier this year.

The voters in 2009 — during the very worst of what’s been dubbed the Great Recession — sent a clear mandate that a recreation complex was of importance.

But even with a clear mandate, an overwhelming vote and a great plan that accomplished much for relatively little public money, our community continues to run in the opposite direction.

That we’re still having this debate is almost unfathomable.

We urge city and county leaders to stop what they’re doing and recommit to actually making a lasting difference in the community by making recreation a priority and answering the voters’ request to have recreation taken seriously again.