One step closer

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Recreation Complex to receive grant from Parks and Tourism

The 25 acre Fulton County Recreation Complex will soon enter phase two with a new $130,000 grant coming soon from the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism, according to Karen Coffman with the Salem Little League Association.

"We just got a letter that we have been awarded a grant of $130,000 for phase two. That will go for four ballfields and the fencing," Coffman said.

"North Arkansas Electric has a round-up program where you round your bills up and they donate the money back to to the community. We filled out an application for a grant and was awarded $1,500 for that too," Coffman said.

The new money will allow the project to move forward into further stages of completion.

"At the end of phase two we should be able to play, it just may not be lit. I think lighting will come in phase three," Coffman said.

According to Coffman, by the end of phase two there will be a basketball court in addition to the four fields.

"Phase three will be mostly lighting, building the skate board ramp and wrapping up everything. The lighting will be very expensive," she said.

"We are hoping by next year to have summer league play, at least practices if not games on some of the fields. We have 250-plus kids that sign up for summer league ball," Coffman said.

With more then 250 kids playing baseball, practice space has became scarce according to Coffman.

"Basically, when the games start the practices pretty well cease," she said.

The new recreation complex is needed because the current sports facility does not meet the needs of the people, according to county officials.

The project will be an all ADA compliant complex located north of the Fulton County Hospital, across from the South Fork River.

In addition to the four baseball/softballfields, a basketball court, skateboard ramp, walking trail, pavilion and picnic area. If funds are available, a soccer field and tennis court could be included.

According to Coffman there are many ways individuals and businesses can help fund the project.

"Some can't give money, anything helps -- maybe you can donate materials or labor," she said.

Individuals with questions regarding the complex can contact Fulton County Judge Charles Willett at 895-3341 or Coffman at 895-3310.

"I think this project is important for our kids' futures," Willet said. "Nothing is more important than that."

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