While the rain soaks up a chipped, weathered Ferguson Park in Warner Robins. Ideas on how to renovate it and others are pouring in.
"This is addressing, or at least beginning to address, the issue of the fact that unfortunately Warner Robins hasn’t always put parks and recreations at the top of the list of priorities," Mayor Randy Toms said.
He said for years improving the city’s parks and recreation facilities moved lower and lower down the priority list.
"We just weren’t able to keep up with it or didn’t have it high enough on the list of priorities because of other issues that come along with growth: water and sewer. Parks and recreations just got left behind," Toms said.
Now that’s changing.
An Atlanta-based architecture firm, Lose & Associates, schemed up a strategic plan to build up new parks and fix or consolidate old ones.
"Since late 60’s, early 70’s it’s been the same thing and so we have to have a new recreation department with more gyms available for our community," said Toms.
$8 million in SPLOST dollars are budgeted for the parks. Toms is hoping to apply for bonds to address different areas on a priority list for the parks themselves.
"One of my goals in the administration is to answer the question is there’s nothing to do in Warner Robins. I’m tired of hearing that, so let’s answer that. There is something to do," Toms said.
Perhaps one of the first things park-goers can do is head to the Walker’s Pond Park near North Houston Road.
"There’s going to be a pavillion around it. Possibly a splash pad to go there in the future," Toms said.
Plans are to have it finished in less than a year. Tom says he’s ready to make a splash himself and bring the fun back to the city.
"We’re ready to move and right now we have a mayor and council that wants to get things done," he said.
There are 16 parks in Warner Robins. Toms says it’s possible the city’s parks and rec department will close out smaller or run down parks and move resources around to make other parks even better.