Tupelo to pump up its parks

By Emily Le Coz/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – Bond money originally set aside for the city’s aquatic center will be diverted instead toward a host of park-related improvements.
The Parks and Recreation Department will drain its remaining funds from a 2007 bond issue to tackle nine long-overdue projects, including new fields at the Ballard Park Sportsplex. In all, the projects will total an estimated $340,000.
The city had earmarked the money for an aquatic center in a $9.5 million bond it issued nearly five years ago. Other funds in that bond were designated for the construction of the Ballard Park baseball complex, the new fire station on North Gloster Street and a new police station. All but the aquatic center and police station have been built.
Some of the aquatic bond money has been spent on the swimming facility project, including $100,000 toward its feasibility study. But with a new bond on the way, Parks and Recreation Director Don Lewis said he can use the old bond funds for other needs.
“We’ve got $12 million dedicated in new bonds for an aquatic center,” he said. “We’re just not looking for ways to spend money. These projects had been on the back burner for two or three years because we had no capital money.”
The city issued a $3.9 million bond in December that sets aside $2 million for engineering and early construction costs of the new $11.3 million aquatic center.
Additional funds will come from subsequent bonds to be issued over the course of the next five years, according to Tupelo’s recently adopted capital projects plan.
Lewis presented the projects during a City Council work session this week. Among those on tap are a nature trail along Mud Creek, new lights for the City Park tennis courts and repairs to the Rockwell Center. Work will take place throughout 2012.

Park Projects
• Bel Air irrigation $80,000

• Music Bend Nature Trail $50,000

• Sportsplex $75,000
football/soccer field

• Tennis court lights $20,000

• Rockwell Center repairs $20,000

• Ballard maintenance $20,000

• Tennis pavilion $75,000

• Teron Nichols $10,000

Park entrance
• Aycock Park signage $10,000

TOTAL $340,000

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