Parks and Recreation

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 Parks and Recreation: $5.8 Million in Bond Funding

Quality of Life Projects are a top priority in the City of Decatur and were prominently featured in the city’s most recent Strategic Plan. While we are a mature city that was essentially “built out” by the 1950s, we have a number of parks and recreational facilities located throughout our four square miles.

Many of these facilities were completed in the 1950s as part of the city’s last public bond program and are in need of upgrades. Funding has also been set aside to help the city continue to acquire and protect undeveloped greenspace. Specific projects proposed for funding through the bond program include:

1. Develop a master plan to upgrade the Decatur Recreation Center, fund design documents and construct improvements. $2.05 million
The Decatur Recreation Center was designed and constructed in the late 1950s. Recreational programming has changed dramatically in the past 50 years. A master plan will identify changes needed in the building to meet current and future recreational program needs.

Renovation of the building will provide for expanded programming rooms, upgraded mechanical systems, an air conditioned gym and more efficient office space. The master planning process will allow input from a variety of stakeholders in the community to assure that we develop an efficient space that meets a wide variety of recreational needs in the community.

2. Acquire additional park land and greenspace, and improve existing greenspace. $1.46 million
Because Decatur is an older city with little undeveloped land remaining, the city plans to make use of a variety of creative solutions for protecting greenspace, including options like acquiring conservation easements from private property owners. When opportunities arise to purchase existing greenspace, a limited amount of bond funding is available to purchase land identified by the city’s greenway plan.

Bond funds are earmarked to acquire private property located in the floodplain and subject to recurring damaging floods. The city plans to apply for $800,000 in funding through the Federal Emergency Management Agency to acquire flood-prone properties and to supplement bond funds available for this project.

These properties will be added to the city’s greenspace holdings and used for passive parks. Funds are also earmarked to purchase signs to mark trails and greenspace areas protected by the City of Decatur.

3. Reconstruct McKoy Pool. $450,000
McKoy Pool, located in McKoy Park in the Oakhurst area of the city, was constructed in the 1950s and has been closed for more than three years because of a persistent leak. Originally the city planned to patch the pool and make necessary repairs, but after completing a facility assessment and meeting with area residents, the city decided a complete reconstruction was in order.

In cooperation with residents, city staff developed a concept that created a T-shape-designed pool to allow for adult lap swimming and a family swim area in addition to a gradual entry system to accommodate seniors and users with disabilities.

Plans now call for a complete renovation of the pool house to make it ADA compliant and provide for improved facilities. Water features, lighting and other amenities are on the list for funding if the final budget allows. In addition to the $450,000 in bond funding, the city applied for $290,000 in funding through the DeKalb County Community Development Block Grant program. We received notice that the grant was approved but have not received confirmation of the amount awarded.

A request for proposals for design and construction will be released no later than mid-February 2007. Our goal is to have the pool ready to open by Memorial Day weekend 2008. Follow-up meetings will be held with area residents once the design firm is selected.

4. Glenlake Park. $1.8 million
While a master plan exists for upgrading and improving Glenlake Park, sufficient money was not previously available to fund the plan. Bond funds are earmarked to update the existing master plan and to cover the costs for designing and constructing recommended improvements. The master plan updating process will include opportunities for community input and involvement.