0

More than $420k spent locally on Miracle Field

Miracle League Consultant Tamara Richardson and Tommy Hailey discuss ongoing construction of the complex at City Pond Park. Hailey is the former director of the Recreation Commission and serves on the Miracle League board. Hailey brought his vision for a field to serve special needs children to the Recreation Commission board in 2008, “So he’s the reason we’re going to have this wonderful treasure in this community,” Richardson said. (Staff Photos: Crystal Tatum)

Miracle League Consultant Tamara Richardson and Tommy Hailey discuss ongoing construction of the complex at City Pond Park. Hailey is the former director of the Recreation Commission and serves on the Miracle League board. Hailey brought his vision for a field to serve special needs children to the Recreation Commission board in 2008, “So he’s the reason we’re going to have this wonderful treasure in this community,” Richardson said. (Staff Photos: Crystal Tatum)

photo

The concession stand and a building housing restrooms, office space and a quiet room for special needs children are currently being built. A Department of Corrections inmate crew works four days a week on the site. They are fed lunch one day a week, with a majority of the lunches donated by local restaurants and civic organizations.

COVINGTON - More than $420,000 has been spent with 23 local businesses on the Miracle League field, Consultant Tamara Richardson reported to county commissioner Tuesday night.

Richardson and Project Managers Tom Garrett and Debbie Bell gave the board an update on the project at the request of Commissioner Levie Maddox.

Maddox said at the board’s last meeting that he wanted local businesses to be involved in the project and requested that a low bid of $31,000 for roof installation on the concession stand by PK Consruction out of Loganville be tabled. Two local companies also submitted bids. Outback Companies out of Oxford bid $35,500 and SteelCo Buildings Inc. out of Covington bid $35,650.

Richardson presented commissioners with a list of local businesses that have been used during the project that included the dollar amount spent with each one. A total of $420,328.89 has been spent with local businesses so far, and Richardson said more dollars will be spent with several of the companies.

Following the presentation, Maddox made the motion to accept the bid by PK Construction, which was unanimously approved.

The lion’s share of funding for the entire project will be $1.5 million in SPLOST dollars. After county commissioners agreed no SPLOST projects would be bonded, Newton Federal Bank agreed to loan the nonprofit the money so that construction could begin before all the SPLOST money was collected. The nonprofit is responsible for paying all interest in the loan; no SPLOST funds will be used, Richardson said.

Including SPLOST money, the available budget for the project is $1,636,592, including grants and private donations.

The nonprofit fundraising group has raised more than $491,000, and more than half of that has been set aside and earmarked, but a portion has been used for operating expenses for the nonprofit over the last four years, including Richardson’s salary and purchasing coffee for inmates on the Department of Corrections construction crew, she said in a follow-up interview.

“Without the involvement of those two groups that I just mentioned, the Department of Corrections and Newton Federal, none of us would be here today,” Richardson said. “It was truly a Godsend that both of those groups … stepped up to help us.”

The Department of Corrections is providing free labor, saving 35 to 40 percent on construction costs, Richardson said.

“Yes, the rain has caused a little bit of a delay but that’s OK because free is free, and the labor from the Department of Corrections is free,” Richardson said.

Thus far, $175,221 has been raised for the playground that will be accessible for both special needs and able-bodied children. That money is included in the more than $490,000 raised by the nonprofit.

Richardson said she is awaiting word on two grants that would total more than $80,000.

In addition to the Miracle field, it’s hoped that a new 225-foot artificial field can be created for Recreation Commission baseball, but that will depend on what funds are left in the budget once the Miracle field and accessory structures and playground are completed.

Richardson reported that there are 2,538 special needs children in the Newton County public school system. Miracle fields typically draw from a 60-mile radius, so children from Morgan, Walton and Jasper counties are expected to play there as well. This will be the first therapeutic recreational program in Newton.

Opening day will be in April, she said.

Comments

Citizen19 8 months ago

Who will take over this field once its built? It seems that our rec department will take on this task but the BOC seems to take money away. How much is this salary? Who maintains the grounds once built? We are forgetting our county is broke and this seems to be another SPLOST pork project. I feel for those handicap kids , but this needed to be funded through private donations. Our BOC said no to loans or bonds for SPLOST projects. Seems that what is happening here and they claim no intrest payments will be made from SPLOST. Why does the Bank not donate the funds to cover cost of intrerst? They are asking us all to donate with SPLOST! People are out of work and county workers have seen no raises for years. Yet this is what we choose to spend our money on. If a 501 (c3) wants a field they need to raise the capital on thier own. This sets a dangrous precednt to future 501 (c3) who wish to have SPLOST projects.

1

frustratedparent 8 months ago

I am thankful to finally see some type of theraputic recreational program in Newton County, but I really hope it does not end here. For years, we have driven to Conyers to participate in the Rockdale Theraputic Recreation programs and are not alone. Oftentimes a majority of the children/teens in attendance are from Newton County, because Newton does not offer ANY theraputic recreation (whether social, camps, sports, etc) for individuals with disabilities. Newton County needs to move into the current century and start providing programs for ALL residents - not just those who play baseball.

1

John 7 months, 4 weeks ago

Newton county - does offer theraputic activites for many of the citizens - just frequently visit the Recreational Complex on Turner lake - there are exercise activites for seniors, daily there are walkers on the upper track around the basket ball courts, used to see a elderly lady walk around the basket ball course with her walker thathad 4 tennis balls on the legs, specials needs students have competetive volley ball matches, in addition to gym activites a school . And the Rec departement does more than just baseball - there are others like football and basketball. But I would like to see more spent on real road repairs vs tempoary patch work and law enforcement, traffic control, especially county - that benefits ALL the citizens and property taxpayers.

0

tomgahunter 8 months ago

waste of money, I voted no on the SPLOST.

0

Citizen19 8 months ago

@tomgahunter I think your right on point. SPLOST does not go to funding the critical things we need ! ROADS WORK! This is why I voted no also, it seems that SPLOST is used to build what we went but know we can't afford. I am sorry that @frustratedparent is upset with the lack of special needs theraputic programs but Newtown County is BROKE!

0

covingtonnative 8 months ago

Newton County is not broke. Get your facts straight. Just because splost is not spent like you want, that does not mean it is wasted money. Being a Monday morning quarterback with a keyboard is a very easy job.

1

Citizen19 8 months ago

If the county is not broke why is that there are NCSD who have not had a raise? Why are our roads following apart? If we were not broke as you say we would have good roads! What bout our Cow Palace that was promised were is that?

0

John 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Well if NC is not broke I agree with that as long as there are property tax payers in teh county. But there is certainly some very tight budgets due to decreases in property values & less tax revenue. Just a few examples - road maintenace is terrible (great impression for all those tourist visitors we have - weeds 2' high every were in the countly except where they are running new water lines along 278 to Baxter - certain subdivisons have patchwork type road repairs (look like those red rubber tire inner tubes during WWII except rougher, NCSO has two deputies assigned to traffic control (used to have 4 a couple years ago) adn teh C of C only has one - drivers have gone wild (thanks to GSP for stopping a few of these NASCAR wannabees). But there always seems to be money available for certain "ego" driven projects - between the C of C & NC there is money to be spent on - things like 40K for more Christmas light on the Square and keeping the Turner Lake turnaround kept emmaculate. I draw a strong parrallel to that guy Nero who fiddled while Rome was burning.

0

Sign in to comment