Recreational facility’s future undecided

Published 11:00 pm Friday, December 14, 2012

The future of the Brundidge Recreation Department will be a topic of serious discussion at the Pike County Board of Education and the Brundidge City Council next week.

On Monday, Pike County Superintendent of Education Dr. Mark Bazzell will discuss with his board a proposed agreement for the Pike County Board of Education to lease the city’s recreational facility and provide recreational services for the children of Brundidge and surrounding areas. On Tuesday, Mayor Jimmy Ramage will discuss the agreement with the Brundidge City Council.

Bazzell said the Pike County Board of Education initiated discussions with the City of Brundidge and expressed an interest in making capital improvements to the city’s baseball and softball fields.

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“Initially, that was our interest,” Bazzell said. “Once we began discussions, the City inquired as to whether the board of education would also be interested in providing the recreational services for the children.”

Bazzell said the Board thought that providing the recreational services would be a good idea.

“We have day-to-day contact with the students so to provide recreational services would be a natural fit,” Bazzell said. “Of course, we couldn’t do that without it costing us money, so we sat down with Brundidge city officials and discussed what the City had budgeted for recreation and came up with a dollar figure.”

The lease agreement that the BOE and the City will discuss is a 15-year lease in which the BOE will provide recreational services for children in the Brundidge trade area and be responsible for all aspects of scheduling related to recreation and other activities held on the premises and staffing and the compensation of the staff.

The recreational services that will be provided by the BOE include but are not limited to recreation football, cheerleading, basketball, baseball and softball.

“In the future, we would like to add soccer and tennis and, perhaps, walking trails and a pool,” Bazzell said.

The BOE will be responsible for maintaining the playing fields and for the maintenance of all concession facilities and restrooms.

During the terms of the lease, all proceeds from admission and concession sales and all recreation and BOE events will be the property of the BOE. Ticket sales from any City sponsored activities will be the property of the City, however, concession sales will be assigned to the BOE.

During the term of the lease, the City will pay the Pike County BOE $75,000 a year for the first five years of the lease and $56,250 for the remaining 10 years.

Britt Thomas, Brundidge city manager, said that $75,000 is the amount that the city budgets annually for its recreation program.

The City of Brundidge will be responsible for repairs and maintenance work on the buildings, driveways and parking area. The city will not charge the BOE for any utilities provided by the city, including sewer, water, electricity and garbage.

Thomas said the city does not currently charge the BOE for utilities provided by the city.

Both the City and BOE will carry adequate liability insurance.

Bazzell said the BOE is committed to providing a quality recreation program for the children of the Brundidge area.

“The sports programs at our schools need to mature and, for that to happen, we need good feeder programs and that is what we can offer through the recreation program,” Bazzell said. “We will run a good recreation program with good people working it and with people who will represent the Pike County School System and the City of Brundidge well. I see this opportunity as a win-win situation for our kids and for the City of Brundidge.”

Thomas said that, when the BOE lease agreement is presented to the City, the Brundidge City Council will give careful consideration to the proposal and make a decision based on what is in the best interest of the people of Brundidge.