Dan Smith talks Parks and Recreation Dept. with Rotarians

Published 3:00 am Thursday, May 28, 2015

The philosophy of Troy Parks and Recreation Director Dan Smith is that parks and playgrounds are as important as ball fields.

“Not everybody plays softball or baseball,” Smith told members of the Brundidge Rotary Club Wednesday. “That’s why Troy Parks and Recreation offers activities for people of all ages – youth, adults and seniors – and with different interests.”

Smith was the program guest of Rotarian Ben Busbee at the club’s weekly meeting. He presented an overview of the programs and services offered by the Troy Parks and Recreation Department and noted plans on the drawing board.

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Smith said the Troy Sportsplex Walking Trail provides a safe and enjoyable 1.1-mile paved walking trail designed for all ages.

“The trail is a horseshoe design and about half of the trail is in a beautiful wooded area,” he said. “We are applying for a state grant that would allow us to extend the walking trail to 3 miles. We are also looking to apply for a grant that would allow us to offer disc golf, which is a popular recreational activity.”

Smith said the Troy Sportsplex is comprised of 135 acres, making it ideal for disc golf.

Summer Day Camp will open at the Sportsplex on Monday with 100 kids, ages 5-12 participating. The camp runs from 7:30 a.m. until 5:30 p.m.

“Registration opened at 8 a.m. on May 4 and the slots for ages five through eight closed in a hour,” he said.

The camp is staffed by 45 teachers on summer break and by college students.

“The kids don’t just stay inside or play kickball,” Smith said. “We have a variety of activities and creative things to do, including swimming, movies and the kids can take an introductory class in Spanish.”

This summer, Coach Frank Sadler and coaches from area high school will conduct two weeks of quarterback camps, with the first week for quarterbacks and the second week for quarterbacks and receivers.

“Our soccer camps are popular and our soccer leagues have grown over the years,” Smith said. “That is reflected at the high school in that our teams do well.”

The summer recreation baseball and softball seasons are coming to a close and the tournament season will begin.

“Travel baseball and softball affect recreation ball in many ways and some of them are good,” Smith said. “Whether kids play rec ball or travel ball, at least they are not sitting home watching TV. The happy medium would be to do both.”

However, Smith cautioned that kids can do too much and said what is in the best interest of the kids, health wise, should come first.

The Tiger Sharks swim team is in the water and swimming lessons are available for all ages, including adults.

“Our hope is that all people learn to swim,” Smith sad.

The Troy Recreation Department has three Miracle League teams, two from Troy and one from Brundidge. The league’s last game will be on June 2.

Smith has high regard for all programs offered by the Troy Recreation Department but said the Fitness Center is the best thing the department has done for adults.

The Fitness Center offers opportunities including floor exercises, treadmill and free weights with knowledgeable instruction available.

Water aerobics, Zumba, Boot Camp, Pilates and Silver Sneakers are programs that are offered to adults.

Smith said an adult kickball league was very successful in the fall with 10 teams and will be offered again in September and October.

“On July 4, the fireworks show is a big event,” he said. “A display like that is not cheap but it is our belief that patriotism is important and that we should celebrate the many freedoms that we enjoy.”

The Sportsplex hosts the annual Pike County Heart Walk and the Pike County Relay for Life culminating event.

Smith said he and his staff appreciate the opportunity to be a part of these fundraising efforts.

“The Troy Recreation Department is always open to suggestions and we appreciate input,” Smith said.

Rotarian Jimmy Ramage, who is mayor of Brundidge, expressed appreciation to Smith and the City of Troy for the many opportunities the recreation department provides for the people of Troy and Pike County.

“We are one county and one people and we appreciate the interest of all of those who participate in the programs at the Sportsplex,” Smith said.