Georgia County Government - Summer 2017 - 17

to the area, and will soon be the site of major
tennis events following the recent expansion
of the county's Cooper Creek Tennis Center.
A park in Columbia County completed in 2015
caters to BMX bikers and skaters and plays
host to regional competitions.
In Macon-Bibb County, recent special
purpose local option sales tax (SPLOST)
dollars are driving major improvements in
recreational facilities to serve a changing
population. SPLOST-funded new facilities
and renovations of existing facilities are both
being designed to drive economic opportunities and engage citizens of all ages.
As part of these changes, Macon-Bibb
County's Parks and Recreation Department has
sought to go beyond sports to engage youth and
adults who aren't athletic but still want to be
healthy, learn new things and feel a part of the
community. This fall, the department will debut a
satellite location of the Middle Georgia Regional
Library at the Gilead-Bloomfield Complex, a
recreational facility in southwest Macon that
recently received $1.8 million in SPLOST dollars
for a much-needed renovation. The result of a
partnership between the regional library and
the parks department, the library will help fill a
void in the neighborhood, providing digital and
print resources that aren't available elsewhere.
An educational facility for science, technology,
engineering, arts and mathematics (STEAM)
located at the complex will dovetail with the
library's offerings. To curb youth obesity and
encourage citizens of all ages to get active,
fitness classes will also be offered at the facility, making the center an enriching draw for
the whole family. Project planners envision the
complex as a future one-stop for athletics, educational needs and performing arts.
Innovative Partnerships
Because parks and recreation departments
serve the public in a variety of ways, partnerships with nonprofit organizations and businesses can be a common-sense vehicle to
augment service offerings at low cost.

The award-winning Columbus Parks and
Recreation Department, which serves the
consolidated city-county, partners with a
variety of entities within the community. Last
year, the department worked with Together
2016, a group of local organizations, to
invest in literacy through the enhancement
of 55 Little Free Libraries-weatherproof
boxes that are placed around town and used
for the free exchange of books. After the parks
department secured a grant from the Georgia
Recreation and Park Association and CocaCola to build the Little Free Libraries, Together
2016 assisted with collecting books, purchasing additional supplies, painting and installing
the libraries and keeping them stocked with
books. The libraries, located in neighborhoods
throughout Columbus, Phenix City and Fort
Benning, "bring communities together," says
Columbus Parks and Recreation Director
Holli Browder. In the past year, the department has partnered with Together 2016 and
with MidTown, Inc., a local nonprofit, to make
functional and aesthetic upgrades to parks
and pedestrian bridges in the county.
The Macon-Bibb Parks and Recreation
Department is also finding opportunities to
offer greater value to citizens through partnerships. In addition to its recent partnership with
the regional library, Macon-Bibb has taken
advantage of partnership opportunities around
its popular youth sports program. The Atlanta
Falcons recently hosted a free football clinic
in the community, providing kids with proper
football tackling techniques for safer play
as well as character-building lessons. Other
free clinics, focused on educating parents and
coaches to reduce football-related injuries, are
being organized by the Macon-Bibb Parks and
Recreation Department in collaboration with
the Atlanta Falcons.
Partnerships are about coming together to
better serve the community. When several
county recreation centers were closed last
summer for renovations, the Bibb County
Board of Education opened schools' doors to

LEE HARTLEY PHOTOGRAPHY

COLUMBUS PARKS AND
RECREATION DEPARTMENT

Columbus-Muscogee officials, Mayor Tomlinson at center, at the ribbon-cutting ceremony
of the Cooper Creek Tennis Center Expansion.

Traditionally, parks and recreation
programs were best known by their
athletic programs. These county
departments are now contributors to
their communities' economic success.
the hundreds of children who normally attend
summer camps at the centers. Thanks to the
parks and recreation department's efforts to
find a new home for the camps in advance of
the renovation, and the school system's willingness to partner up for the good of the community, students still had a positive environment
in which to spend time while school was out.
For parks departments, attracting productive partnerships is often simply a
matter of putting out the welcome mat.
Holli Browder, whose department depends
upon local agencies and organizations to
collaborate to provide services to the citizens of Columbus-Muscogee said, "We're
approachable-we've built a reputation of
being open to working with local groups to
bring improvements to the public. We believe
that by all of us partnering together, we can
provide more to the community."
Whether they are structured around a service project, an infrastructure improvement
or a program offering, partnerships are one
key to extending the positive impact of parks
and recreation.
Responsive Programs
In Columbia County, as it is today in many
Georgia communities, youth sports was
long the defining program of the parks and
recreation department. However, when the
Pentagon announced in December 2013
its plans to move Army Cyber Command to
Fort Gordon, increasing the surrounding population by 13,000 by 2020, Columbia County's
top leaders set out to expand recreational
offerings for their existing and future citizens.
Sports programs still engage 4,000 children
and teens in the county, a number that is likely
to only continue to increase. But the focus
now is on increasing variety. Columbia County
Parks and Recreation Manager Dennis Hodges
SUMMER 2017 www.accg.org

17


http://www.accg.org

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Georgia County Government - Summer 2017

President’s Message
Director’s Message
Haralson County: Location and Rural History Provide Opportunities for Success
Parks and Recreation: An Investment for Today and Tomorrow
ACCG and GDOT Dedicate Historical Marker
County Senior Services Help Residents Flourish and Thrive
UGA Extension Educates Communities through Partnerships with Parks and Recreation Departments, Senior Centers
Q & A with Deputy Commissioner Ben Hames: Counties and Workforce Development
County Health Departments Work to Improve Communities
From Wellness to Wellbeing: LGRMS Assists Counties with Providing Comprehensive Health Programs to Local Government Employees
News & Notes
Index of Advertisers
Georgia County Government - Summer 2017 - Intro
Georgia County Government - Summer 2017 - cover1
Georgia County Government - Summer 2017 - cover2
Georgia County Government - Summer 2017 - 3
Georgia County Government - Summer 2017 - 4
Georgia County Government - Summer 2017 - 5
Georgia County Government - Summer 2017 - 6
Georgia County Government - Summer 2017 - 7
Georgia County Government - Summer 2017 - President’s Message
Georgia County Government - Summer 2017 - Director’s Message
Georgia County Government - Summer 2017 - 10
Georgia County Government - Summer 2017 - 11
Georgia County Government - Summer 2017 - Haralson County: Location and Rural History Provide Opportunities for Success
Georgia County Government - Summer 2017 - 13
Georgia County Government - Summer 2017 - 14
Georgia County Government - Summer 2017 - 15
Georgia County Government - Summer 2017 - Parks and Recreation: An Investment for Today and Tomorrow
Georgia County Government - Summer 2017 - 17
Georgia County Government - Summer 2017 - 18
Georgia County Government - Summer 2017 - ACCG and GDOT Dedicate Historical Marker
Georgia County Government - Summer 2017 - County Senior Services Help Residents Flourish and Thrive
Georgia County Government - Summer 2017 - 21
Georgia County Government - Summer 2017 - 22
Georgia County Government - Summer 2017 - UGA Extension Educates Communities through Partnerships with Parks and Recreation Departments, Senior Centers
Georgia County Government - Summer 2017 - 24
Georgia County Government - Summer 2017 - 25
Georgia County Government - Summer 2017 - Q & A with Deputy Commissioner Ben Hames: Counties and Workforce Development
Georgia County Government - Summer 2017 - 27
Georgia County Government - Summer 2017 - County Health Departments Work to Improve Communities
Georgia County Government - Summer 2017 - 29
Georgia County Government - Summer 2017 - 30
Georgia County Government - Summer 2017 - From Wellness to Wellbeing: LGRMS Assists Counties with Providing Comprehensive Health Programs to Local Government Employees
Georgia County Government - Summer 2017 - 32
Georgia County Government - Summer 2017 - News & Notes
Georgia County Government - Summer 2017 - Index of Advertisers
Georgia County Government - Summer 2017 - cover3
Georgia County Government - Summer 2017 - cover4
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