Bibb County commissioners were presented Tuesday with a 19-point draft of the recreation master plan that will be funded by sales tax money.
Additionally, commissioners learned the new Bibb County Animal Welfare shelter could open as soon as January 2015.
Both projects were key selling points when Bibb voters approved the most recent special purpose local option sales tax in 2011.
Consultant Peggy Thompson of ZT3 Placemaker Studio Inc. gave a short presentation about the recreation master plan. Recreation projects made up $39 million of the $190 million SPLOST.
Thompson said the plan will cover points gathered from community meetings, surveys and input by public officials. She told commissioners the plans details are still being worked out and that she will have a meeting with the countys Parks and Recreation Department before formally presenting the plan to commissioners Aug. 20.
Thompson on Tuesday outlined 19 different points, including improvements such as adding an outdoor amphitheater, creating a dedicated parks police force thats similar to having rangers at Lake Tobesofkee, and putting into place a new identification system for parks and rec users.
Thompson said theres a desire to see the county earn income from the recreation centers once theyre upgraded.
We want to identify ways the current facilities can become revenue-generating, she said.
The draft plan didnt include how much each item would cost or what items have the highest priority. Thompson said those numbers would be added during the formal presentation later this month.
Commissioner Bert Bivins noted that costs cant increase very much, since the new consolidated Macon-Bibb County government that takes over Jan. 1 has been charged with reducing the overall budget by 20 percent over its first five years.
Commissioner Lonzy Edwards said traditionally its been difficult to get county residents to pay for new recreation programs.
No one wants to pay for recreation, he said. They think its a perk that their tax dollars pay for.
In a separate matter, commissioners were given a time line of when the new $3 million animal shelter might be ready.
Len Hindsman, who oversees the SPLOST, said a bid proposal will be issued later this month for the shelters site work to be done on the land off Fulton Mill Road. Meanwhile, the county will begin soliciting bids for the facilitys construction next month, and Hindsman said construction should begin in November.
Architect Gene Dunwody Jr. said the final design for the new shelter was completed July 25 and includes a community room, lobby, administration area, separate areas for adoptable cats and dogs, surgical suites and a quarantine area, among other amenities. He said the heating, cooling and plumbing systems are extremely complex, but they will be extremely efficient in terms of air and water quality.
Dunwody said plans call for 300 construction days, which would have the facility close to completion by mid-December 2014, with the target of a January 2015 opening.
Steve Layson, the countys chief administrative officer, said hes preparing a survey to evaluate how well the county has done on SPLOST projects and to see what areas might need improvement.
In other Bibb County business Tuesday:
Commissioners approved in committee to allow the Macon-Bibb County Fire Department to hold a fundraiser for fire Sgt. Eric John, who was injured last month when he was struck by a vehicle while working the scene of a wreck on Interstate 75. The fundraiser is scheduled for Sept. 14 at Arrowhead Run and will include activities such as a pancake breakfast and a 5K run.
The commissions Engineering Committee approved spending just under $19,000 in SPLOST money to pave the surface of Liberty Church Road near the railroad tracks. In addition, the county is receiving grant money to improve the railroad signs and add crossing arms. Commissioners asked County Engineer David Fortson for a survey of other railroad crossings to see if similar improvements are needed elsewhere in the county.
Commissioners approved changes to county code enforcement to aid in removing blighted properties.
Commissioners were informed that the county collected $2.43 million in SPLOST money in July, a slight improvement over June figures.
To contact writer Phillip Ramati, call 744-4334.