Commissioners looking to bring public track to Jones County

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GRAY, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – Jones County commissioners are taking strides to build a track complex on Highway 49. There’s only one public track in the county right now and they want to offer another option to residents and athletes.

The Jones County Board of Commissioners is accepting bids for a company to draw up plans for the new complex. Commissioner Daylon Martin says this is a way to attract state and regional track tournaments to the area and give the community another place to stay active.

"In Jones County there’s one track. It’s at the high school," said Martin.

The board of commissioners is looking to change that.

"There’s no real bleacher access and you can’t really run a good state meet on it," explained Martin.

Martin wants to build a new track complex on Highway 49 near the Mattie Wells Elementary School. He says there are many promising young athletes in the county.

"In the previous years we’ve send over 50 kids to state to compete in track. My son is one of those guys and that team helped develop the high school team that just won regionals," said Martin.

He believes the new facility could help attract state and regional track meets to the area.

"When we go to a state track meet, you’re talking thousands of athletes and thousands of parents and family members that come out. On that one day alone that track probably brings in 15 to $25,000," explained Martin.

Athletes aren’t the only ones who would benefit from another public track in the county.

"I started walking about 2 years ago. I’ve actually lost about 60 pounds since then," said Melodie Harper, a Licensed Practical Nurse at the Jones County Health Department. 

Harper is a walking advocate.

"It helps reduce your risk of heart attacks and strokes. It also will help decrease your cholesterol. It will lower your blood pressure," explained Harper.

It’s the exercise that changed her life and she’s hoping the new track does the same for others.

"I actually live over in that side of Jones County and it would be great and beneficial, I think, for the whole community to have something over in that area," said Harper.

Commissioners are also considering putting the tack around the football field at the Jones County Recreation Complex. They’re estimating the project will cost about half a million dollars. They plan to use SPLOST dollars to pay for it.