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Natchez-Adams boards approve new recreation plan
from Staff Reports - NEWS
December 5, 2017 -

By John Mott Coffey

NATCHEZ, Miss. – The city and county boards agreed Monday on a new Natchez-Adams County recreation plan for what they’ll do with their consolidated funds after the pool now being built opens next year.

“We want to move beyond the pool and ballfields to whatever else we can get,” county Supervisor Mike Lazarus said after meeting with Natchez Mayor Darryl Grennell and city aldermen.

The city and county boards formed a compact in 2015 to jointly fund and enhance the community’s recreation offerings managed by the Natchez-Adams County Recreation Commission. The commission contracted the Jackson-based YMCA to manage the recreation program.

Soccer fields have already been laid out near the pool on Liberty Road. However, various snags and changes have stalled a lot of what city and county officials envisioned – much to the frustration of some.

“Let’s stop talking and let the recreation board do its job,” Recreation Commission Chairman Tate Hobdy told county supervisors, city aldermen and the mayor at Monday’s meeting.

Lazarus expressed hope that city and county officials will now clear the way for improving existing public recreation facilities and develop new ones.

“The pool being built shouldn’t stop whatever else they could be doing,” he said.

In the revised recreation compact approved by the city and county boards Monday, they specified that they will evenly share the costs of operating the swimming pool. Located by Liberty Park and Natchez High School, "the pool is slated to be complete by May," Hobdy said.

"The revised recreation plan also stipulates that a master recreation plan for Natchez and Adams County will be drawn by May and that the county board will provide up to $334,000 a year for recreation under the management of the YMCA," said county board attorney Scott Slover.

The city has budgeted about $900,000 for recreation this year, with much of that for running the city-owned Duncan Park golf course and tennis courts. The city will continue operating them rather than the YMCA, as originally planned.

Construction began in October for the community swimming pool. It was delayed when proposed construction costs exceeded what was originally budgeted. County supervisors and city aldermen come up with more money to reach the $1.5 million needed. Two Louisiana-based construction companies are building the pool and related structures.

The new recreation agreement’s negotiations centered on what the YMCA is to manage. The original 2015 agreement had the Y overseeing all recreation programs under the auspices of the Natchez-Adams County Recreation Commission. However, Natchez officials decided they don’t want the YMCA to be in charge of the Duncan Park golf course, tennis courts and city recreation employees.

The Y this past summer threatened to pull out of Natchez-Adams County if not allowed to manage all recreation programs. However, the revised recreation compromise gives the YMCA control of the pool and other facilities while golf and tennis programs remain as before. | © 2014 | All Rights Reserved
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