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Bobby Dennis of McKee and Associates answers a question from Tallassee City Councilman Charles Blalock

Multiplex proposal draws public interest

Staff Report

The conversation about upgrading recreational facilities was discussed at the first of two public meetings by the Tallassee Parks and Recreation Board on Tuesday. The second forum is scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 12 at 6:00 p.m. at Tallassee City Hall.

The Tallassee Parks and Recreation Board unveiled a new recreation complex plan presented by McKee and Associates. Options are now being explored for making a modern multiplex come to fruition.

Preliminary Drawings, Courtesy of McKee and Associates

"Tallassee needed this ten years ago.  We're far and away behind in our facilities," Mark Segrest said. "Opportunities are endless as far as hosting tournaments. It brings people together."

The Tallassee Recreation Department is headquartered in a converted National Guard Armory on Gilmer Avenue. The proposed new center and site plan details the layout on Highway 229 in the Tallassee Industrial Park that would encompass all the facilities.

Marion Patrick questioned the proposed location. "Convenience is a big factor," he said. "I'm a senior and would use it, but what about our kids?"

"I think anywhere will be a good location as long as we do it," Jennifer Easterling stated. "I came from the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Tallassee has great involvement with children. We need these facilities. A lot of people choose not to live here because we don't have the types of things."

From an indoor climate controlled walking track to a new regulation sized competition swimming pool and sprayground with an indoor pool for use year-round, the new designs cover the gamut.

The multiplex would house a gymnasium, with new offices and multi-purpose rooms for holding a variety of events.  The plans also include a new Senior Center.

New fields would allow for youth baseball and softball games to be at one location.  There are new tennis courts included in the proposal. In addition, there is green space with a pavilion and lake, a place for family picnicking.

Drew Cleek of Edward Jones discusses payment options

The price tag for such an endeavor would be approximately $11 million. Options for offsetting the debt service include; fundraising and naming opportunites, membership incentives and pledges, a self-sufficient department and a one cent sales tax.

The idea of a sales tax increase concerned Jerry Burt. "Seniors are living on a fixed income," he noted.

Stephanie Weldon and Tasha Moyers pointed out the cost of travel for attending out of town events such as swim meets.

Tallassee City Schools Board Member Rex Ledbetter spoke of another idea, a new bridge. "For every dollar we make you have to spend hundreds," he said in reference to a sales tax. "How about a bridge structure and we could charge a small toll."

Superintendent Dr. Kenneth Varner mentioned the possibility of other developments like a civic center or new school. "It's good to see people are passionate," he said. "We need to do what is best for Tallassee."

Hank Golden, Tallassee Redevelopment Authority Chairman also spoke. "We can tread water forever. We don't have a hotel. What do we have that's going to attract one? We are going to do everything to help this project along."

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