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Recreation upgrades underway

The Pike County Parks and Recreation Authority has seen a lot of growth in youth sports participation – with more than 758 young athletes signed up for spring baseball and softball – and the recreation department will see much more growth as the Park Master Plan becomes a reality. The first of the five phases of the plan includes the construction of a Recreation Center facility and soccer complex upgrades. Commissioners recently approved the use of $327,712 in impact fees to cover part of the costs for the Phase1 projects. Phase 2 of the plan will include softball complex upgrades, Phase 3 will see the creation of a Community Park, Phase 4 will include baseball complex upgrades and Phase 5 will see the creation of an Adult Recreation Complex. 

“The Rec Department is the watering hole of our community. Everyone celebrates and cheers there, creating friends and memories that last for lifetimes. Simply, the Rec Department offers the opportunity to maintain healthy lifestyles, mentally and physically,” said PCPRA board chairman Chris Childress. 

The Park Master Plan was finalized and approved in July 2019 and the recreation center is nearly 70 percent complete. When completed, the rec center will offer indoor space for special events and space for rent for activities such as yoga and martial arts. Administration offices will also be located in the facility. Site work will begin soon at the Soccer Complex that will provide drive access to the Recreation Center as well as provide for additional parking. 

Phase 1 underwent a bidding process in 2021 for the building of the Recreation Center and site work at the soccer complex with McLeRoy Construction awarded the bid for approximately $902,000. The Recreation Center is being funded with Impact Fees and a loan secured from United Bank of Zebulon. 

Site work bids were approximately $400,000. Impact Fee money will fund the site work. 

“Baseball/softball season is wrapping up. Football registration is open now. Two new members of the recreation board will be sworn in at the PCPRA Board Meeting in July. The two new members appointed to three year terms are Jason Leatherman and Joshua Follett,” said Chris Childress who was appointed to his third three year term on the board at a recent commissioner meeting. “Many, many thanks are warranted for David Reeves and Danny Cuviello. The June rec board meeting will be the last meeting for those two gentlemen. David served Pike County for seven years and Danny served for three years. Rec board positions are volunteer positions and both David and Danny deserve the highest praises for their contributions to our community.” 

The Parks and Recreation Authority’s 10-year Master Plan was created by Root Design Studio after months of surveying local leaders and citizens. According to the National Recreation and Park Association’s Agency Performance Reviews, it was recommended that based on Pike County’s population, citizens should have access to three playgrounds (currently have two playgrounds), two outdoor basketball courts, three tennis courts, two tee-ball fields, one baseball field for adults, two softball fields for adults, two soccer fields for adults (currently have one field), two rectangular multi-purpose fields (currently have one), two lacrosse fields, one field hockey field, two overlay fields, one multipurpose synthetic field, one multi-use court for basketball or volleyball and one skate park.

“These improvements are critical since we cannot hold USSSA tournaments until more fields are built, handicapping our park’s ability to be included in tournament ball circuits. Having a tournament ready park would provide more opportunity for our kids and would have a significant economic impact on our community,” said Parks and Recreation chairman Chris Childress. “As PCPRA Chair and a baseball and softball coach for over a decade, I know the park is a place where kids become good citizens. Having been the juvenile public defender in several counties, including Pike, I have rarely represented a child who had a background in youth sports. In my experience, a child’s involvement in youth sports translates into less of a likelihood of delinquent behavior.”

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