County agrees to pitch in $500,000 for rec fields

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By Tia Lynn Ivey

managing editor

The Morgan County Board of Commissioners (BOC) unanimously approved an agreement to make a collaborative 153.62-acre land purchase with the Morgan County Board of Education (BOE) for the purpose of developing joint-use recreational fields. The county’s portion of the purchase amounts to a little over a $500,000.

The land is located along East Avenue and Old Buckhead Road, adjacent to the already existing recreational fields. The county plans to use the $400,000 in revenue they recently received from the City of Madison selling a portion of land to the City of Madison for the airport expansion project.

“It’s not an exact swap, but it’s close,” said Commissioner Andy Ainslie of the cost. “It’s perfect timing, and it’s right across from where the fields. The timing is great, the location is great, and the collaborative is great.”

County Manager Michael Lamar noted that both the county the school system have been looking for ways to expand recreational fields.

“This is a good collaborative effort between the school system and county, where we are acknowledging that we have responsibility to the public to try and leverage public dollars in the service of our citizens, and as much as humanly possible, to consolidate those services to benefit the entire community,” said Lamar.

According to Lamar, there is an extensive public outcry for more recreational venues throughout the county, both for children and adults.

“We have a tremendous demand and a limited supply for ball fields,” said Lamar.

County Attorney Christian Henry personally thanked the BOC for agreeing to move forward with the land purchase.

“As a parent, I see how our recreational fields we have now are overburdened,” said Henry. “Parents have been begging for more fields. I cannot thank you enough…it’s wonderful, and I think its going to reap dividends to this community for many, many years.”

The BOC also voted to renew its contract with the Convention and Visitors Bureau for another year, effective July 1, 2016 and to switch recycling vendors on May 1, 2015.

The BOC will switch to Pratt Recycling, if the company agrees to a one-year or two-year contract. According to Lamar, the company is willing to take the county’s waste at no cost, whereas the current company, FCR, charges the count $20-$30 per ton.

“It’s a good deal for the county,” said Lamar.

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