Holmes updates County Commissioners on BDCRA

Published 2:47 pm Friday, December 17, 2021

The Decatur County Commissioners gathered for their monthly meeting this past Tuesday. Among the speakers was Joel Holmes, executive director of the Bainbridge- Decatur County Recreation Authority, who gave an update on the Authority’s activities.

Holmes has worked in the recreation field for 22 years now, and has worked for the Rec. Authority for almost a year.

“Just to give you an update, as I got here, I had about three goals for my first year for the Recreation Authority,” he said. “One was, I wanted to hire the best possible staff we could.”

Some of these new hires include Ryan Riles as a program supervisor, focusing on baseball.

“We expect a lot of growth for our youth baseball and girls’ softball program with Ryan heading that up,” Holmes said. “We’re also starting to look into travel baseball with the Recreation Authority.”

In addition, the Rec. Authority has hired James Lodman, an Albany State basketball player with a degree in exercise science, to oversee the youth basketball and youth football programs. The Authority also hired their previous summer intern, Ana Baty, as a marketing and special events manager.

“She really helped us recognize that we need to have more of a social media presence,” Holmes said.

In addition to hiring new staff, the Authority has also updated their equipment, replacing one of their older maintenance trucks and scheduling to replace one next year. Holmes also addressed the Authority moving offices, now located at 401 East Broughton Street. Perimeter fences were also installed on some of the fields at Bill Reynolds due to safety concerns.

On the topic of Bill Reynolds and renovations, Holmes also addressed the upcoming plans to convert Bill Reynolds Complex 1 into more soccer fields. With Complex 1, comprised of baseball fields, according to Holmes, having fallen into disarray, and the soccer program growing more popular, the Authority has budgeted $75,000 for the project, in addition to obtaining a matching grant for $75,000, for a total of $150,000.

According to Holmes, the Authority is also looking to start a scholarship program, which will have local businesses sponsor kids, to help cover the costs of participating in Rec sports.

“That is something I expect to debut before our spring sports season starts,” Holmes proclaimed.

One of the most notable developments Holmes addressed was the finalization of plans for a new, multi-purpose indoor recreation facility, with the groundbreaking expected by April 1, and predicted opening in fall of 2023.

“This will be approximately a 28,000 square-foot facility that will have multiple meeting rooms, will have our administrative offices there, and will have two full-sized basketball courts,” Holmes said.

This facility would be used for the youth basketball programs, as well as potential new programs, like wrestling, volleyball or cheerleading. The facility will be built on the parcel of land adjacent to Bill Reynolds the Authority recently purchased. The estimated cost on this facility is projected between $4 million and $6 million, some of which will be funded by Rec Authority, and some by bonds.

For more information on youth sports programs or any other questions, the Rec Authority can be reached at 229-248-2010.