Editor

My understanding is that Marshall County does not have a formal parks and recreation department that addresses the needs of all citizens, especially children playing rec/little league sports, and that the county provides little funding and assistance to the towns that are providing park facilities that are widely used by rural citizens.

As an example, the small Town of Grant has only around 1,000 citizens living within its two square miles, yet it is responsible for providing park and recreation facilities at Grant Park for presumably thousands in the area as the next closest park facility is 15 miles away.

The Town of Grant only employs one maintenance man who is responsible for all the Town’s maintenance including mowing and marking the fields at the park.

As you can imagine, he is stretched pretty thin, especially this time of the year.

I am not a citizen of the Town of Grant, so I am not entitled to vote on the officials and issues that govern and impact Grant Park

I believe thousands of county citizens are in the same boat in rural areas such as Grant, Asbury, Douglas, etc.

Many citizens blame the small towns and their governments for not providing better park facilities, but the majority of that frustration seems to be misdirected as the duty of these small towns with their limited resources is to their constituents, not to us rural citizens.

I believe it should be the responsibility of the county and its elected officials (i.e., county commissioners) to provide for the recreational needs of its citizens.

Decades ago, the Morgan County Commission stood up a parks and recreation department for the purpose of providing recreational opportunities for its rural citizens.

Each of the commissioners from the four districts agreed to allot, from his funds, 25 percent of the budget for the parks and recreation department.

Today, Morgan County manages five parks in Union Hill, Somerville, Priceville, Falkville and Danville including 26 ball fields, 11 batting cages, seven playgrounds, three walking trails, and seven courts.

They’re also currently building the first county-owned and operated gym in the small community of Danville where my husband grew up.

I admit Morgan County’s accomplishments are a little intimidating, but if Morgan County can do it, why can’t Marshall County do it?

I know our citizens are just as capable and worthy, so do we just lack proper leadership?

I’ve asked the Marshall County Commission to stand up a parks and recreation department.

To invest in our future, we must invest in our children. A great start would be funding maintenance positions for parks in rural areas to ensure the existing facilities are safe, clean, and operating efficiently with a goal of eventually leasing/owning the parks and taking full responsibility for their development and maintenance.

I challenge other rural citizens to voice their concerns about the quality and availability of park and rec. facilities.

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