Changes coming to Freedom Park

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MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – Macon-Bibb County is trying to figure out how it will spend around $3 million in Special-Purpose Local-Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) money to improve Freedom Park.

About 75 people showed up at a meeting Thursday to offer input to Mack Cain, the architect who will plan the changes.

Most people at the meeting were from the Vine Ingle Baseball and Freedom Park softball organizations. Their biggest concern was park safety.

"We have a lot of different ways in and out of the park," says Scott Park, Vine Ingle president. "We have traffic and people intermingle throughout the park. Our main focus right now with this SPLOST first and foremost is to get this park safe. Get the traffic out of the park. Rearrange it where you have a parking lot and then you have a walk-in part like most other facilities have now."

One of the issues Park pointed out was Morgan Drive, a road that runs between two of the park’s fields. Parents asked if it could re-routed.

"One of the fields has the home plate backed up to an intersection," Cain said as he pointed at the road’s intersection with Roff Avenue. "I don’t know that I’ve ever seen that before."

Those not affiliated with the baseball and softball organizations have shown interest in projects like restoring the park’s swimming pool, which would cost around $700,000.

A splash pad would cost about a third of that and would require less operating costs. Fewer chemicals would be used and no lifeguards would need to be hired. It is also being considered.

One woman at Thursday’s meeting said she’d prefer the park keep a focus on baseball and softball, adding she didn’t think there was enough room for other recreational activities anyway.

Cain will be back at the boxing center at Freedom Park July 2 to get more input and give an update on his plans. He will also be at another info session July 16 before taking his plans to county commissioners.

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(478) 745-4141 ext. 310 Tucker Sargent joined the 41NBC news team in April 2012. He's from Alabama, but you won't catch him saying "Roll Tide!" Tucker grew up near Auburn before moving to north Alabama. He graduated from Danville High School in 2007 and loves to return to the Tennessee Valley any chance he gets. He moved back south to Troy, Alabama after high school, where he graduated from Troy University in 2011 with a B.S. in Broadcast Journalism. He interned in Huntsville at WAAY-TV before joining 41NBC. His passion is sports, and his favorite teams are the Auburn Tigers and Troy Trojans. On the weekends you can catch Tucker watching college football on Saturdays and NASCAR on Sundays! He's proud to call middle Georgia home for now and could always use a story idea from you, so don't hesitate to get in touch with him!