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Phillips highlights ideas for new rec center

By Michael Butler

A new recreation center in Tallassee may finally come to fruition after decades of conversation. An Elmore County Economic Development Authority (ECEDA) quality of life study revealed five prioritized projects with $10 million in funding being applied by the Elmore County Commission from lodging taxes.

The estimates for all five projects came in at $16.5 million. Priority one could start by year's end. Tallassee City Schools has exercised an agreement with the county to move forward on plans to returf the playing and practice fields at J. E. "Hot" O'Brien Stadium.

The rough estimate for the turfing project is $2.5 million. The county's remaining contribution of $7.5 million would likely go towards a new rec center. The initial estimate to build it came in at a total of $10 million. Additional funding, if necessary, would have to be obtained on the city's end.

As for the remaining projects listed in the study (splash pad, competition track and walking trails), they too would require funding sources beyond the county's contribution.

"The Elmore County Commission and architects came in last week and asked us what we want," said Tallassee Parks and Recreation Director Eric Phillips. "Hopefully in a month or two we'll get plans and costs to see what we need to cut and what we can add."

The proposal by the county is for a 36,000 square-foot facility. The current facility is 15,000 square feet.

Phillips outlined the things he would like to see incorporated including a gym area that would accommodate two full-length baskeball courts with the potential for four more side courts and six pickleball courts.

"A walking track above the basketball and pickeball courts (with) retractable basketball goals," he added, and bleachers around the courts. We have to do youth basketball at Southside now."

Equipment has already been upgraded this year in the weight room and can be moved to a new facility. The workout space being used is about 1,000 square feet. Anticipation is that area would expand with a new building.

Phillips added that an order has already been executed to test the soil for the proposed facility on the site of the current center and city shop.

"I've got a pretty strong feeling this is going to happen," he concluded.

Close-Up View of Priorities I, II and III