It’s finally time to upgrade the ball fields at one of Dawson County’s most-frequented facilities, Parks and Recreation Director Matt Payne told the Board of Commissioners at their Sept. 15 work session.
Payne officially requested an amount not to exceed $150,000 to re-grade ball fields 7-12 at Rock Creek Park and re-sod all four of the parks’ tee-ball fields. This would work out to be between $22,000-$25,000 per field, Payne said.
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The funding would come from SPLOST VI, which was collected from July 2015 through June of last year, he added.
Payne explained that while from the naked eye, the ball fields may “look beautiful” to fans, the fields are “very difficult and hard to work” from a maintenance and management standpoint.
Grass on the fields has grown up and dirt has settled down, creating large lips in the soil, Payne said. These lips can be a tripping hazard for players.
Payne said his department’s plan is to strip all of the grass off, go with all-dirt infields and have the fields be completely re-graded so that they can drain correctly.
On a separate note, District 2 Commissioner Chris Gaines asked about tennis courts possibly being rehabilitated to pickleball courts.
While there aren’t funds in SPLOST VI to address that, Payne said he did put money for that into the recreation department’s projected FY2023 budget.
“It’s time to redo the courts anyways. You can only keep tennis courts for so long, and it's time to redo all of them,” Payne said. “When we do that, I was going to convert at least four of our six into pickleball courts at that time.”
He clarified that that would be contingent on the budget passing.
“If that is something that doesn’t get passed in the budget, that is definitely something that we could use impact fees for, said Payne, “because of the enormous growth that we’re getting in that pickleball community…[the sport] is extremely, extremely popular.”