SCPRD Named Agency of the Year – Americus Times-Recorder – Americus Times-Recorder | Wonder Mind Kids

SCPRD named Agency of the Year

Published 3:36 pm Friday 28 October 2022

From personnel reports

COLUMBUS – The Georgia Recreation and Park Association (GRPA) District 3 Banquet was held on Wednesday, October 26 at the Comer Recreation Center in Columbus, GA. At the banquet, the Sumter County Parks and Recreation Department (SCPRD) was named 2022 Agency of the Year. The agency received this prestigious award for the second time in the past four years.

There are 28 parks and recreational facilities that make up the third district of GRPA, representing cities and counties across south-west Georgia.

The SCPRD has been touted as an industry leader for its innovation and efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic. It found ways to continue many of its programs in a safe environment, and it was able to communicate the needs with Sumter County citizens. The department also boasts state championship teams in youth soccer, basketball and baseball in the past two years.

Sumter County has long been a leader in youth sports in the Southwest Georgia region. In addition to excellent programs, they have also used SPLOST funding to improve existing facilities and develop new ones. Over the past two years, SCPRD has constructed a lighted, covered batting cage with three tunnels in its regional park. The department also built a third football field at the Miller Rush Football/Soccer Complex and installed a new roof, new LED lighting and upgraded electrical systems at the Sumter County Fairgrounds.

The SCPRD has also installed new electronic basketball goals in the columns at the Boone Park Community Center and currently has funding for several upcoming SPLOST-funded projects, including the demolition of an old swimming pool and construction of a new pool at the Willie Lee. Boone” Walton Park, along with a paved walking path that will circle all three football fields, a lighted, covered amphitheater stage, and major improvements to all five county playgrounds.

Another specialty of this agency is the publicly funded gymnastics program. The SCPRD features 14,000 square feet of gymnastics space, complete with a large foam pit for practicing gymnasts. The SCPRD also hosts nearly 100 birthday celebrations throughout the year. The income from the gymnastics program covers the personnel costs in the gymnastics center. There is an average of 120 gymnasts in the program, which takes place year-round at the Columns at Boone Park Community Center.

The SCPRD is overseen by Executive Director Tim Estes, who recently began his 29th year with the department. Mr. Dwight Harris serves as Athletics Manager with responsibility for the sports of soccer, basketball and athletics and overseeing the Summer Day Camp program. Mr. Jeff Fussell serves as the Recreation Manager and is also responsible for the sports of baseball and soccer

such as monitoring the two public swimming pools and a paddling pool. On the maintenance side of the operation is Mr. John Dodson in charge of Sumter County Regional Park along with Mr. Brandon Gooden in charge of the pillars at Boone Park and Willie Lee “Boone” Walton Park.

Melissa Singley is the full-time gymnastics coordinator. Kaitlyn Goodin serves as the administrative assistant and Gracie Davis as the front desk clerk. “We have a really good team of recreational professionals,” said Estes. “When you have a supportive Board of Commissioners and County Administrator like we have in Sumter County, and you combine that with great full-time, part-time and seasonal staff and really good volunteer coaches, that’s what drives success.” Steve Card, Executive Director of the Georgia Recreation and Park Association, Sumter County also gave high praise. “Tim and his team in Sumter County are among the best in our business,” said Card. “They are very involved in our national association and receive national certifications. They are regular visitors to our professional

development conference. Mr. Jeff Fussell has just completed a term as State Athletic Chairman. Tim Estes has held this role for the past few years and is now a Vice President on our Executive Committee. He will be sworn in as GRPA President in November 2024. This department deserves this prestigious award,” continued Card.

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