BLAIRSVILLE, Ga – The SPLOST funded Youth Sports Complex will be located behind the farmers market and Sole Commissioner Lamar Paris hopes to have it completed by next season.
The Youth Sports Complex will feature four ballfields catering toward the younger age ranges from T-ball to coaches’ pitch, and eight and under leagues. Paris explained that there isn’t room to expand the ballfields at Meeks Park and often the recreation department must move the bases to accommodate each league.
The new four ballfields will be tailored for each age group and give children better fields to play on.
The Sports Complex will also feature a multi-purpose field for sports such as soccer, football, rugby, field hockey, lacrosse, and more.
Between the baseball and multi-purpose fields will be a handicap playground area with ADA compliant structures for children to enjoy.
Paris added that the Union will execute the project as much as possible in-house, but SPLOST funds will be used to cover the rest. The county’s already started moving dirt for the ballfields.
The new Sports Complex marks another investment Union County’s taken in local children as well as athletic facilities. Last year, the Sports Center opened to the public and quickly became a local necessity. Originally intended for indoor sports and walking track, COVID-19 vaccine administration requirements demonstrated another great use of the gymnasium. The local health department administered vaccines from the Sports Center for several months until moving back to in-office vaccination.
The new restroom at Meeks Park is almost complete. The time-intensive project will provide a closer bathroom for event-goers during events like the Sorghum Festival. The county had to pipe underneath existing roads within the park to connect the restroom to city sewer lines. TVA granted Union County $50,000 for the project. Paris thanked Will Nelson who serves on the TVAs Regional Resource Stewardship Council for his part in securing the funding.
The new restroom also helps to pave the way for another larger project in Meeks Park, an amphitheater. Paris has plans to build a covered 1,200 amphitheater and stage for live performances in the same area as the bathroom and Sorghum Festival building. The project won’t take place this year and maybe not until 2023. Once complete, it will offer a venue for church choirs, local bands, youth plays, outside performances, and festivals to host events. The cost will be covered in part by recreation department revenue and SPLOST funds.
Pavilion #3 in Meeks Park was also recently completed. The new updates connect the pavilion to the nearby gazebo with an ADA compliant ramp. Some of the new round picnic tables are handicap accessible as well.
Another potential SPLOST project is Fire Station 13. It would be located around Ivylog Bridge and provide nearby fire department services to around 300 homes in the area. The building would also provide housing for an ambulance. Paris is also considering use some of the county’s $2.3 million in American Rescue Plan Act fund for the project.