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Posted on: February 9, 2018

Community input sought on Hardeeville rec facility plans

The community’s input will be sought as Hardeeville moves forward with its $6.5 million recreational facility.

The location for the facility hasn’t been determined, but it should be known by the end of the month, City Parks and Recreation Director Addison Jarrell said.

To city will deliver surveys soon to help move the project forward. Those who want to take the survey online can log on to www.surveymonkey.com/r/MC3Y953 to help the city understand what things the public would like to see included in the new facility.

“We will be sending out a survey to ask the public about different things they would like to see included in the new facility in a week or so,” Jarrell said. “We have been taking tours of various recreational facilities around the state to get a better idea of what would work in this area. Once we get the survey back and the tours done, the location should be established and then floor plans can be done.”

The multipurpose recreational facility was approved with a second reading after unanimous city council vote at a recent regular meeting.

“This is something we have been working on for a long time,” Hardeeville Mayor Harry Williams said after the project was officially approved last week. “It is the fulfillment of many people’s dreams. This is terrific.”

Council approved final reading and a bid from BB&T for a 15-year fixed rate of 3.1 percent, allowing the city to borrow the funds. City Manager Mike Czymbor said the money borrowed will go toward construction costs of the building, a potential land purchase, and/or the renovation or expansion of city hall.

During a previous meeting, Williams said the debt service will be used by A-Tax (hospitality and accommodations fee revenue) funds because the city is using the facility to promote tourism into the city. He said the money will not come from property taxes.

Williams said there’s $900,000 in A-Tax funds available and he expects those funds to continue to replenish each year throughout the length of the loan as more people move into the area. The yearly debt on the loan, he said, would be $498,000, to be paid using A-Tax funds.

Plans for the indoor recreation community center include three NCAA regulation basketball courts, classroom space, a fitness center, a stage for performances, and two racquetball courts. There will also be areas that could be rented for events. Future plans also include partnering with local organizations to offer youth and adult athletics, fitness classes, after-school classes and childcare. The facility will be open to the public and there will be set hours for the gym.

“This is really exciting,” Mayor Pro Tem David Spisso said. “We intend to continue to grow with more restaurants and hotels and attract people to Hardeeville. If you look at the pickleball tournament, look back here at the current facility and how much it is used by various groups. To me, it’s nothing but up.”

Spisso said he was encouraged by the city’s growth and encouraged that sports tourism is an area the city can grow.

“We will be delighted to support this (recreational facility),” he said.

Change in length of Mayor Pro Tem term

Council also approved final reading of an amendment change to an ordinance that changes the term of Mayor Pro Tem from two years to one year.

“State law requires there is an election immediately following a municipal election, thus the one-year terms will start in January of each year since elections are now occurring in November,” City Attorney Prina Maines informed council during a recent meeting. “This amendment will allow for more of you to serve in the position and furthermore, upon adoption, you have the right to elect a new Mayor Pro Tem upon adoption of this ordinance at this time. Going forward, this would be done in the first January meeting of the year.”

With the unanimous vote to approve the change, council later voted unanimously to approve John Carroll as the city’s new Mayor Pro Tem during its Feb. 1 meeting.

Former Mayor Pro Tem Spisso thanked council, the community and his wife for the support.

“I look at this position on council as a place where I can continue service to the communities and my fellow man,” he said. “I am delighted I had the chance, this is a position of assumed respectability and I’ve enjoyed supporting the mayor as close as I did and I will continue to do that.”

Jasper County Sun Times
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