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Chamber calls for recreation program improvements

The Cairo-Grady County Chamber of Commerce is calling on the Grady County Commission to evaluate the recreation department and develop a vision and strategic plan for the future.
Chamber Chairman William G. Jones, on behalf of the chamber’s board of directors, wrote to County Administrator Rusty Moye and the county commissioners outlining the chamber’s request and an offer for assistance.
The chamber board earlier this year conducted a community assessment and identified two areas of the community to focus on for improvement. Those two areas are the public school system and the county recreation department.
Jones says in his July 15 letter, “One of the avenues to promote leadership is through a well run recreation program. Our recreation department has to be a center piece for our community. It should provide programs, in conjunction with our school system, that provide activities for children to senior adults.”
The chamber chairman and board believe the recreation program should be “centered on promoting healthy families and allowing parents to spend quality time with their children.”
Chamber officials also believe the county recreation department should support “traveling teams,” and host tournaments that have the potential to bring tourism dollars into the community.
Jones acknowledges the current economic situation and is clear that the chamber is not seeking an increase in recreation department funding. He writes, “As business leaders, we want the current resources available to be used efficiently and effectively.”
Chamber leaders are hopeful the county will take advantage of the board’s offer to assist in the development of a vision and plan for the recreation program.
“We offer our support and assistance to help create and cast a vision that represents the collective inputs of our community. Successful implementation and community acceptance of the vision and strategic plan depends largely on community input during the development phase,” Jones wrote.
He went on, “The chamber board has a diverse group of leaders that can assist the leadership of the recreation department in understanding the expectations of our community for these programs. Our board is actively involved in the community and not only experiences the programs personally, but has contact with other business leaders who continue to express concern over the focus and direction of our recreation programs.”
The chamber chairman says an improved recreation program will help the chamber in “fostering progressive economic development and tourism opportunities in our city and county.”
Jones wants to put the chamber to work by seeking “positive change through better communications and relationships between our board and other governmental entities including the county, city and school board.”
The chamber head also invited county leaders to attend the next chamber board meeting or to schedule a special meeting where these initiatives can be discussed further.
Jones concluded by writing he and the chamber board “look forward to forging a new partnership with accountability focused on creating a better community.”
During Tuesday night’s county commission meeting none of the county officials commented on the chamber chairman’s letter.
However, following the meeting Chairman Bobby Burns told The Messenger it would be his suggestion for the chamber to meet with the county’s recreation committee and if necessary the committee could bring back some recommendations to the commission.
“I really don’t see the need for the county to get involved with 300 plus members of the chamber to discuss the recreation department,” Chairman Burns said.
However, Burns said he would listen to any recommendations or suggestions brought to the board.
Current members of the county recreation committee are Commissioner Charles Renaud, Drew Pyrz, John Walton, Greg Clark and Nola Daughtry. Recreation Department Director Phil Gregory serves as an ex-officio member of the committee.

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