WARNER ROBINS -- A full-access park for children with disabilities is one step closer to reality after City Council voted Monday to lease land to the Warner Robins Lions Club.
Were going to do everything for children that cant walk to play, said Harvey Ware, a lifetime member of the Lions Club. And their brothers and sisters who arent handicapped will be able to play there, too.
City Council unanimously approved the go-ahead to lease land at Moody and Pleasant Hill roads at its regular council meeting, during which a first assistant police chief position and two other jobs were created.
The Lions Club has been pressing council for nearly four years to help it acquire land in the city for the park. Every council member, including Mayor Chuck Shaheen, commended club members for their tenacity after Mondays vote.
Since Ive been on council, weve been trying to work with them, said Councilman Paul Shealy.
Ware said he came up with the idea while sitting in a city park. There was a young boy watching his able-bodied sister play, he said.
Sometimes, you dont think about things like that, said Councilwoman Carolyn Robbins during her closing comments.
From that moment, the Lions Club pledged to build a park for all children to enjoy.
Ware said the park will include a merry-go-round, swings and any other disability-accessible equipment they can find.
These Houston County children deserve a place of their own, Ware said.
The Lions Club hopes to begin construction in the spring with the help of sponsors. The club also intends to acquire a nearby parcel to build a clubhouse, so members can watch over the park. The terms of the lease have not been determined yet.
Were not just going to build it and turn it over to the city, Ware said.
Also at the meeting, council unanimously approved an ordinance to accept suggested changes to the payroll study it implemented in April. The Carl Vinson Institute made the suggestions in answer to 26 city employee appeals.
Among the changes is the creation of an assistant police chief position in response to an appeal Maj. John Wagner filed.
Wagner argued he had taken on the responsibilities of two majors after Maj. Harry Dennard retired and the second major position was dissolved.
Wagner was effectively promoted Monday, though he was not given a pay raise. His pay grade was increased from a 23 to a 24, allowing Wagner room for a future raise.
He has a salary of $78,659, which was the maximum in the previous pay grade. His new salary range is $57,883 to $86,825.
Police Chief Brett Evans said there arent any plans to create a position with a rank of major.
Aside from the new assistant police chief, City Council added two part-time clerk positions. One will work in the Convention & Visitors Bureau. There other will work in the city attorneys office.
To contact writer Christina M. Wright, call 256-9685.