“On time” and “under budget” are phrases you love to hear from government officials describing publically funded projects, and that’s exactly what county Parks and Recreation Director Jerry Kinsey had to say last week about two new recreation centers opening this month.
The recreation center at what eventually will be Old Atlanta Park is set to debut Feb. 15, while a similar facility at Fowler Park will open Feb. 20.
The two centers, funded primarily by a park and greenspace bond approved by the voters in February 2008, should be great additions to the county’s increasingly diverse menu of recreational options. The centers include gymnasiums, walking tracks, exercise rooms and office space, and will allow the county to offer a broad range of health, fitness and recreational programs.
The two new facilities bring to three the number of recreation centers under the umbrella of the county’s park department. A recreation center already is open at Central Park just north of Cumming.
The opening of the centers serves as a reminder that the county continues to increase the scope and number of recreational venues thanks to the willingness of local voters to tax themselves in order to make such facilities possible. When voters endorsed a $100 million tax supported bond for parks in 2008, they sent a clear message that the development of a first-class parks and recreation department was important to them.
Since that time, the county has invested hundreds of hours in listening to the input from local residents, preparing master plans for a comprehensive land acquisition and park development program, and implementing that plan in a thoughtful and professional manner.
With financing from the bond, property has been acquired at seven different locations for greenspace and park development. Recreational facilities are already open and being used at some of those locations, while others are in the planning and development stage.
As significant as the facilities themselves is the wide variety of different sorts of opportunities afforded county residents as a result of the bond vote. Whether your interest is quietly walking along a nature trail or cheering for a youth team on an athletic field, the county’s park system has something to offer.
It is indeed exciting to watch as such a major investment in the county’s future continues to pay dividends, made all the better by those magic words “on time” and “under budget.”