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Rec complex to get upgrade
County OKs improvements to Highway 119 facilities
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Improvements to Effingham County’s main recreational facility could be under way in the near future, after county commissioners approved a proposed recreation project list Tuesday.

The work approved Tuesday is slated for the Highway 119 complex, which serves the northern half of the county and has not been upgraded in several years.

“It’s a project list (ECRP director Clarence Morgan) felt was the most pressing,” said interim county administrator Toss Allen. “It allows Clarence to seek bids.”

Commissioners and recreation board members held a joint workshop last month to discuss potential improvements and expansion of the county’s recreational facilities.

“I want to take the football field and rec fields 1, 2 and 3 and make them like we have at Sand Hill,” Morgan said. “We’ll have another Sand Hill in the middle of the county.”

Morgan said he wanted to start in the back of the rec complex and work his way forward with improvements. He said he would hold off on improvements to the gym since the sheriff’s office likely will make the adjacent annex its temporary headquarters while the new sheriff’s office and jail is under construction.

“We can’t work on the gym until we get that building gone,” Morgan said. “We’ve been waiting four or five years to do anything at the rec complex because of the economy, and we’ll be waiting another year and a half.”

On the recreation department’s to-do list are fencing at the complex, sod and irrigation for the fields, lighting and scoreboards for the four fields. Two of the scoreboards will have timing devices and two will not.

Also on the list are a maintenance shed and safety netting at Sand Hill Park.

The county also has been trying to acquire land next to the complex for 15 years, and Morgan said he wouldn’t put in a new pressbox/restroom combination until the recreation department had the land.

“We’ll update what we have,” he said.

The cost of the work is projected to be $795,000 and the funding has been approved as part of the short-term work program. Special purpose local option sales tax revenues will pay for the work.

Morgan said the main part of the projects could be done in 90 days and he wanted to get them done while the fields were not being used.

“We have a November-December-January time frame to get these projects done,” Morgan said, “or we’ll be forced to wait another year and a half.”