Warner Robins, you have lift off. The city council decided on a recreation plan that will be funded through sales taxes to the tune of $20 million. The city will see a recreation expansion over a period of six years (2018-2024) like it has never seen before and that’s a good thing.
Recreation Director Jarred Reneau came up with five options, all with different price tags and priorities and while there was debate and discussion, primarily about whether ball fields or gymnasiums were a priority, the primary focus was on dollars and cents.
Now comes the hard part. Estimates of what it will cost to build an administrative building at Memorial Park along with a senior citizens facility and basketball gym; a basketball gym on North Houston Road with a programs facility and gyms at Deloris Toliver Park and Tanner Park should be called guesstimates. Now the pencils will get sharpened, and real numbers put to the test. How well the city can hold to budget will depend on how far down it can go on its list of priorities, knowing that some at the bottom of the list may not get done.
Even though the city will issue bonds to get the work started, that’s a delicate dance, too, because interest payments on the bonds begin long before the first sales tax revenue starts coming in next year.
While there are certain items we are sure the council would like to see added to the list or moved up in priority, this is not their last go at it. City and county governments have learned that recreation is an essential quality of life issue and you can’t address it once and say that you’re done.
As the population continues to grow and evolve so does a recreation plan. One would hope it wouldn’t always need a $20 million infusion, but council understands that if you ignore recreation a bigger pill has to be swallowed to catch up. And Warner Robins has finally decided to swallow that pill.