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Town seeks funds for building at sportsplex

An application for a grant to build a multipurpose building atthe Lawrence County Sportsplex was denied, but the town is seekingan alternative method to fund the construction.

The proposed multipurpose building would include a concessionstand, press box, storage rooms and other features.

Mayor David Nichols said the building was rejected for the grantbecause it did not meet minority requirements. Under the grant, acertain percentage of the population that would use the facilityhad to be minorities, and the town did not meet that quota.

The multipurpose building is a key element in making thesportsplex self-sustaining, Nichols said.

“Until you get that big building, you can’t host regional orstate tournaments. It’ll be a local ballfield,” he said.

At the moment, Nichols said, softball is the only activity atthe sportsplex generating income. Soccer and baseball are alsoplayed at the facility.

Hosting tournaments could be an economic boon to the town, townofficials believe, by making the sportsplex self-sustaining andbringing teams and parents into the town, where they will purchaselodging, food and gas.

Nichols called the grant denial a setback, but said that anoffer by the Georgia-Pacific Monticello Mill and Miles Lumber Co.of Silver Creek was still on the table. That offer was forapproximately $150,000 in material donations and in-kind work atthe sportsplex.

The approximately $250,000 project included the multipurposebuilding and renovating and enlarging the existing bathrooms. Thetown would also like to put lights at the soccer field and build awalking track.

The mayor suggested during a meeting of the board of aldermenTuesday that they should consider moving some excess funds from thetimber sales at Atwood Water Park to make a down payment on a$100,000 loan.

Any money left after the construction of the multipurposebuilding could be used on other projects on a priority basis.