Warner Robins council makes recreation top priority | News
The Warner Robins mayor and council mapped out their priorities for the coming year in a daylong planning session.
The meeting was held at the Robins Regional Chamber of Commerce and facilitated by Ted Baggett, a local government program manager from the Carl Vinson Institute of Government at the University of Georgia.
The city leaders left the meeting with a defined set of goals for the International City.
Five of the six council members put developing recreation areas as number one on their priority list.
Freshman council member Keith Lauritsen said, "Those are important. It's important for the community, for the quality of life."
Lauritsen said a 2012 penny sales tax collection designated money for recreation, including a large sports complex.
All of the money is not there yet, but Lauritsen said that shouldn't stop progress.
He said, "We need to do this now. We don't need to wait five years and start the work. The work needs to be started now."
Mayor Randy Toms says they have land for the parks - a spot called Walker's Pond and another off Springwood Drive, near Russell Parkway.
Toms said developing the areas would be affordable.
He said, "With a passive park, you're talking about a very inexpensive thing to do, that would add the quality of life in a community."
Toms wants the parks, but put building a new fire station near Highway 96 at the top of his list.
The land and the money for the building are there. Now the city needs money to staff it. He said, "There's a huge need for that in that area."
Councilman Clifford Holmes supports the parks and fire station goals, but was the lone councilman to name erasing blight from the north side of the city, as his main goal.
He said the first step in cleaning-up, making a plan, is already in place.
Holmes said, "All that's been on the books for years. We need to put some money in there to do it."
Council said they plan to take the next steps toward making all three priorities, realities in the next 90 days.
Lauritsen said he hopes to see parks opened by next summer.
Mayor Toms said Walker's Pond park would be a passive recreation area with trails and picnic areas. He said the Springwood Drive site may include disc golf and a dog park.