GARLAND — Efforts to provide more recreational activities and a playground for youths are moving along.
In 2016, a committee was formed to establish a softball league and to bring the sport back to town. During a recent meeting, Commissioner Judy Smith reported to her colleagues that more than 30 people recently singed up to volunteer with the softball organization. Sign-up days are scheduled throughout April.
“They have decided to move forward with whatever number they get,” Smith said. “Even if we have to tweak our ages, we’re going to be playing some ball.”
Previously, thousands of dollars were approved by commissioners for parks and recreation improvements.
Upgrades to the large ball field are complete. The small field will be ready in about two weeks. Smith said light repairs were also repaired through the volunteer work of Terry Long.
“Everything is working now,” Smith said.
Along with reviving softball, town officials are also planning to build an outdoor area and playground for children. The 1.39 acres of property on South Bladen Avenue was donated by Connie Cain Rackley, daughter of former commissioner Curtis Cain, following an announcement in March.
Smith has collected a few estimates to prepare the land for construction and a sprinkler system. But it will be presented in the near future after Smith collects more information. Work is projected to begin before the end of summer.
“With the budget that I was given, I will be able to begin within this current fiscal year,” Smith said.
The estimated cost of the playground project is between $10,000 and $12,000. One of the goals is to renovate playground equipment left when Head Start left Garland.
After the playground is built, more equipment may be added each year. But currently, the priority is to start with necessities on the land which will be named after Rackley’s father.
In the process, a deed for the land has been finalized. Rackley was granted naming rights and the town is responsible for legal matters. If the town is not using the land as a park in the future, ownership will go back to the hands of the original owner.
“The land now belongs to the town of Garland,” Smith said while making a presentation about future plans.
Following the presentation, Mayor Winifred Murphy showed appreciation for Cain’s gift to Garland.
Reach Chase Jordan at 910-249-4617. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.