City recreation facilities to see upgrade soon

Published 5:43 pm Friday, March 22, 2013

CORDELE, Ga. — The City of Bainbridge’s recreation facilities in the Earle May Boat Basin, and along nearby Cox Avenue, will see significant changes in the near future.

The planned installation of a large new playground and picnic area in the Boat Basin, a popular destination for boaters and families alike, was one of the highlights of the first day of the Bainbridge City Council’s annual retreat. The two-day retreat is being held at the Lake Blackshear Resort at Georgia Veterans’ State Park near Cordele, Ga., and continues through Saturday morning.

Roy Oliver, director of the city’s Community and Economic Development Division, discussed four projects that are expected to be funded in the city’s budget over the next two to three years.

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In addition to the new playground, the other recreation projects include the construction of a new brick concession stand next to the multi-purpose fields on Cox Avenue, a new concession stand at the baseball and softball fields at Bill Reynolds Sports Park, Phase One.

Oliver and City Manager Chris Hobby also discussed what they see as a need to move the Bainbridge Animal Shelter out of its current location on Cox Avenue, in the middle of the city’s sports park.

City officials have concerns about the safety and appearance of keeping animals next to where hundreds of children play each spring. The Bainbridge-Decatur County Humane Society, which runs the animal shelter, has concerns with people dumping animals at the shelter’s current location and would also like to have more space for shelter operations.

The current proposal for the new shelter, which would be funded by a new Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax to be voted on in two years, would place it on city-owned property off Avenue C in southern Bainbridge. The new shelter would have 10,000 square feet and cost an estimated $650,000 to build. Among its proposed features are indoor/outdoor dog walks.

The new, more modern playground will be built closer to the existing covered picnic pavilion at the Boat Basin. It would have a variety of play equipment appropriate for both younger and older children, restrooms, and additional picnic and outdoor grilling facilities. The estimated cost for the playground is $109,862.

The new concession stand at the multi-purpose fields will be 920 square feet and cost $87,400.

Hobby said the new playground and concession stands will probably be included in the city’s proposed 2014-2015 budget. The shelter project wouldn’t begin for at least two years, because it will depend on funding that citizens will have to vote on in two years’ time.