Newspaper article The Tuscaloosa News

Council Proposal Changes Plans for Parks

Newspaper article The Tuscaloosa News

Council Proposal Changes Plans for Parks

Article excerpt

TUSCALOOSA | A $13.28 million multi-year capital projects improvement plan for the Tuscaloosa County Park and Recreation Authority was approved Tuesday by the Tuscaloosa City Council.

The action is a counteroffer to a similar, four-year joint funding plan adopted by the Tuscaloosa County Commission on May 15. The county's $20.2 million proposal included $4.4 million in work that the County Commission would fund exclusively.

In addition to the county-only work, the County Commission suggested a 50-50 split with the city of Tuscaloosa on $3.1 million worth of shared community projects and a 75-25 percent split on $12.8 million of upgrades and new construction at Munny Sokol and Bowers parks with the city paying 75 percent.

The city's counteroffer ignores the county-only work, suggests a 50-50 division on $4.51 million worth of projects and a 65-35 percent split on $8.77 million worth of work for Munny Sokol and Bowers parks.

The city's plan now goes back to the County Commission for another round of discussion and possible adoption.

City Councilman Lee Garrison, who pitched the counteroffer to the city's Public Projects Committee, said the time for discussion is about over.

"We're going to move forward in some fashion ...," Garrison said. "We're not going back-and-forth with (county leaders) anymore."

City and county officials have been moving slowly toward some kind of resolution on PARA capital improvement projects since September. That's when PARA Executive Director Gary Minor proposed to both governments a five-year, $12.1 million plan to upgrade parks and facilities inside and outside the city limits.

The total has swollen in the months since then as additional projects were added by both the city and county.

Some of the projects approved by the County Commission earlier this month remain as-is in the plan approved by the City Council. That includes $975,000 for five new soccer fields in Sokol Park North and $850,000 for lights at the fields.

But some county commission-approved projects were rejected or modified in the city's latest plan.

Among the modifications was additional money for improvements at Ol' Colony Golf Complex. …

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