Recently, the Board of Aldermen awarded lowest and best bids to Southern Recreation, LLC in the amount of $300,000 and Southern States Construction in the amount of $148,400 for construction of our new special-needs playground and site preparation, respectively.
Our special-needs playground will be constructed adjacent to the Field of Dreams baseball field located at the southern entrance to Snowden Grove Park at Nail Road and Snowden Lane. This “state-of-the-art” facility offers the most modern features and will be enjoyed by so many children while adding options and convenience to our current special-needs field.
This project is part of the City’s “Parks Enhancement and Expansion Plan” that was revised and approved by our Board of Aldermen earlier this year. As our plan develops, the City’s goal is to diversify our Parks program to appeal to the interests of more of our citizens. In recent years and in addition to the traditional baseball, softball, football, and cheerleading options for youth, we have added the “Forever Young Senior Center”, BankPlus Amphitheater stage enclosure, tennis expansion, and our city’s first volleyball program. The current plan also includes paving and landscaping the Springfest area, soccer expansion, floor-leveling at the Arena for versatility of use, and a running track at Central Park, which should all be completed within the next two years.
This $448,400 expenditure is funded by tourism taxes (1% hotel, 1% restaurant) for which revenue is mandated by state law to only be spent for parks, recreational, and tourism promotion. Parks and recreational options are very important for any city because, whether or not a citizen directly uses them, they, much like school systems, benefit all citizens by improving the economic attractiveness of a city. Since many individuals are attracted to these options, businesses are also attracted for their employees and families, which leads to job creation and development, further resulting in tax stability for all property owners and revenue that may be spent to improve all municipal services for citizens.