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County opens new rec buildings
pl NewLCRD
Pieces of ribbon fall to the ground as members of the Liberty County Commission, LCRD Board members and LCRD director and staff cut the ribbon to open the new administrative office on Highway 84. The ceremony also heralded the opening of the LCRD’s maintenance building behind the National Guard Armory. - photo by Phgoto by Patty Leon
It took roughly a year, but the Liberty County Recreation Department has a new home for the administration and a new building for maintenance equipment.
Officials gathered Thursday for a ribbon cutting and tours of the new office in Stafford Park on Highway 84.
According to LCRD Director Jimmy Martin, the planning process for the new buildings started in 2004 when the county and the LCRD Board of Directors drew up a recreation master plan recommending the new buildings among other projects. The funding for the building was made available through the special purpose local option sales tax.
“The previous building was great when the recreation department first moved into it,” Martin said. “Back then it was a much smaller program but as the program grew we just got too big for the building.”
Martin said the older building was nearly 50 years old and while it served its purpose in the past a newer and modern building was needed.
“It’s nothing above or beyond, it’s just what we need to operate,” he said.
Members of the Liberty County Commissioners’ office, Chairman John McIver, County Administrator Joey Brown, Sheriff Don Martin (Jimmy Martin’s father), Chief Deputy Keith Moran, former LCRD Director Charles Shuman and members of the LCRD Board were on hand for the ceremonious ribbon cutting signifying the opening of the new building on the same site as the old one, adjacent to the National Guard Armory and the Stafford Pavilion.
Located behind the armory, the new maintenance building is the first LCRD mechanics and maintenance building since the department started. Prior to that the equipment was stored outside, exposing the tractors, mowers, sweepers and trucks to the elements. The building also features office and staff space for the mechanic supervisor and workers.
“This new facility is a first class building with bays where we can pull equipment in and do maintenance on them,” Martin said. “We can keep our equipment out of the weather and in the long run it will be a big benefit of keeping our equipment well maintained.”
McIver and recreation board Chairman Kenny Howard addressed the audience during the ceremony and applauded all the progress made during Shuman and Martin’s era. Martin will enter his 13th year as the LCRD director in December and said the development of the parks and programs has increased significantly.
“Well it’s been a big team effort on the part of all the county officials because the need was real obvious because of the growth of the population,” Martin said. “There was so many more people and so many more kids that needed recreational services and I’m proud of the way we responded to that need and be able to supply it in a pretty timely manner. I think we met as many needs as we could and are prepared now to meet our new challenges.”
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