Newspaper article The Tuscaloosa News

Tuscaloosa County Commission Approves Some Recreation Projects

Newspaper article The Tuscaloosa News

Tuscaloosa County Commission Approves Some Recreation Projects

Article excerpt

TUSCALOOSA | The Tuscaloosa County Commission unanimously approved $4.35 million in improvements Wednesday to Tuscaloosa County Park and Recreation Authority parks and facilities that are outside of Tuscaloosa city limits.

But the commission has not agreed with the city of Tuscaloosa on how to split the cost of a multi-year capital projects improvement plan -- a cost that has varied between $12 million and $15 million - - for parks inside city limits.

"Our goal is to work with the city and work with something we could all agree to," said County Commissioner Stan Acker, who represents District 1. "We'll continue striving for that. Right now, we haven't been able to get the two plans exactly the same, but we'll move forward. We are making progress."

In September, PARA Executive Director Gary Minor proposed to both governments a five-year, $12.1 million plan to upgrade PARA parks and facilities, with the bulk of the improvements at Munny Sokol Park and Bowers Park. The Tuscaloosa Tourism and Sports Commission teamed up with PARA to present the plan, which the agencies said would bring in additional revenue to the city and county governments through tournaments and other events that the city is currently unable to host.

In the past eight months the price has fluctuated as additions and modifications -- some suggested and proposed by the county -- inflated the plan to $15.3 million, then $18.8 million until a $20.2 million plan was approved by the County Commission on May 15.

According to that May 15 plan, 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 county's proposal also included $4.35 million in work that the County Commission would fund exclusively -- the "county only" projects that the Commission approved Wednesday.

"As we continue negotiations with the city, we may add this to the list, but if we decide we can't negotiate with the city, then we'll move on with (these projects)," Acker said. …

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