West Macon’s recreation has lagged behind, but there are upgrades on the way

The quality of recreational amenities across west Macon-Bibb County may finally be catching up to some of the other parts of town.

West Macon Park is next in line for some major upgrades with a groundbreaking scheduled Friday morning for the rebuild of baseball fields, constructing a new entrance, dugout, score-box and other changes.

Plans are also being considered to build new offices at Lake Tobesofkee Recreation Area for staff and for park visitors to check in. Earlier this month commissioners voted to spend $170,000 on architectural services for the offices.

There’s roughly $2.8 million of special purpose local option sales tax money set aside to build new staff offices and shelters at Lake Tobesofkee Recreation Area. That money may also help put in new pavilions and do other work in the park, Macon-Bibb spokesman Chris Floore said.

Also, sometime in early 2019 cyclists will be able to bike along a new trail built in the nearby Arrowhead Park.

Commissioner Joe Allen, who represents the western Bibb County district that extends through Lizella, says this part of county has lagged behind with recreation improvements.

One of his priorities when he rejoined the commission in 2017 was to bring it up to par. Tens of millions of SPLOST dollars have been spent in recent years on other recreational projects in Macon.

“We just want to make sure that we have something nice for folks that live in this area,” Allen said.

In Allen’s neighboring west Macon district is also the location of Filmore Thomas Park, which opened in 2016 on Log Cabin Drive.

West Macon Park

Allen and fellow Commissioner Elaine Lucas spent Thursday afternoon at West Macon Park discussing how it got started in 1983.

Longtime former Macon City Councilman and County Commissioner Ed DeFore spearheaded the effort to get the park built and create the West Macon Little League that’s used the ball fields since the park’s inception, Allen said.

The ballfield improvements will benefit the Little League as well as other Maconites who visit the park located near Mercer University Drive, Allen said.

He’s also pushing for later installing a walking trail and for the paving of a path leading to the field used by special needs children.

Friday morning’s 10 a.m. groundbreaking is a chance for people like DeFore, past and present Little League players, parents and volunteers to celebrate what’s ahead for the park, he said.

There was some special sales tax revenue leftover for the $560,000 project, but contributions from Lucas and Commissioner Scotty Shepherd’s blight bond funds were instrumental, Allen said.

Lucas says that West Macon Park is an example of how commissioners are coming together to improve the recreational opportunities throughout the county.

“There are a lot of areas in our community that have been neglected over a long period of time and it’s truly time for us to say that we’re operating as one,” she said.