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Rec center funding not revived
Fate of Buice still unsettled
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Forsyth County News

Tax day tea party

By: Jim Dean

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An attempt to rekindle discussion of funding for two south Forsyth recreation centers was thwarted Thursday by a 3-2 vote of the county commission.

Commissioner Brian Tam said he intends to revisit the matter at the board's July 2 meeting, when an updated list of funding options for the centers will be available.

The commission approved moving forward with both recreation centers -- one for Fowler Park, at Hwy. 9 and Castleberry Road, and the other on the Buice property, at Nichols and Old Atlanta roads -- on March 19.

The matter of how to pay for them, however, has not been resolved.

Staff did present a list of possible funding sources -- including impact fees, 1-cent sales tax revenue and the parks, recreation and green space bond -- at a May 21 meeting, but the board voted 3-2 to table the issue.

Thursday's failed motion to revive discussion angered Commissioner Patrick Bell.

"I'm disappointed in this board," Bell said after the vote.

He added that more than 20 residents came to the meeting to "hear us discuss this ... and your votes, Commissioners [Jim] Boff, [Charles] Laughinghouse and [Jim] Harrell, have kept these citizens from hearing discussion on it."

Residents spoke to commissioners during the meeting's public comment segment, stressing the need for a center at the Buice property.

Gil Sallade encouraged the board to "think ahead a few years into the future."

"This really does make sense, and [funding the recreation center at Buice] is the right thing to do," Sallade said.

John Clark echoed those remarks. He said the "southeast part of the county is an underserved part of the county for our kids."

Craig Corbin was more direct.

"Just do it," Corbin said. "Make the Buice property recreation center reality."

Tam seemed confident that it will soon come to pass.

"Once the chairman has the opportunity to review funding sources, he'll do the right thing and vote to approve the funding for the Buice recreation center," Tam said.

At Thursday's meeting, Laughinghouse said he was indeed in favor of the plan, "but right now I have a question about funding."

About $2.6 million for the recreation center at Fowler Park was included on the list of approved projects for the parks, recreation and green space bond.

While a recreation center at the Buice property is not mentioned on that list, the county's master plan for parks and recreation calls for four recreation centers in the county by 2011.

According to Chief Financial Officer Bill Thomas, the Fowler Park recreation center would total $7.1 million with funding from the parks, recreation and green space bond, parks and recreation impact fees and sales tax money.

The recreation center for Buice was estimated at $7.5 million, Thomas said.

The Central Park Recreation Center, off Keith Bridge Road in north Forsyth, is currently the county's only recreation center.

E-mail Frank Reddy at