Citizens express support, concern about sports complex

Staff Writer

One-by-one hands went up during the question-and-answer session of the Tuesday forum to discuss a proposed sports complex.
Answering were City Manager Trey Baker, Tourism Executive Director Gary Worsham and Matt Harrison, executive director of the Grenada Economic Development District. The three had just finished presenting facts and figures to the crowd.
Laurie Chavis, president of the Grenada Athletic Booster Club, was the first to speak and was given applause after she stressed the need for the complex.
“The kids deserve it,” Chavis said. “I’m a huge advocate for the sports complex. I have three kids who participated in these types of sports, and I know what they can do. With a sports complex here, the sky’s the limit for Grenada. Not just tournaments, but church leagues, soccer and all that comes with it.”
Grenada Lake Champion Dolly Marascalco questioned the price tag on sports complex.
“I’ve received hundreds of phone calls about this, and the question they asked was how much would this cost? I’m hearing $7 to $10 million,” Marascalco said.
Following other questioning about the cost of the facility, Baker informed Marascalco and others that they would have to live within their means when it comes to the price tag of a new complex.
Col. Tim Freelon asked about the purpose for the feasibility study and what it will determine. Harrison took that question and said the study would specify the complex itself and show the economic impact it would have to Grenada.
Attorney Jimmy Vance asked about the location of the site, and while many have speculated that the sports complex would be located near the interstate, Baker said that there are a few potential sites.
Harrison said things such as turf drainage would have to be determined as well.
Midway through the questioning, many grandparents spoke in favor of the sports complex, including Mickey Boyette, who said he was a former umpire for baseball games here. He recalled days of the World Series being held in Grenada.
“Now I have grandkids involved, and I see these complexes while following them — and they are impressive. Why don’t we win one for Grenada,” Boyette said.
Former City Councilman George Mullen said the forum changed his thoughts about the one percent increase and the sports complex.
“If that’s what it will take so the kids can have a place to play, I’ll spend an extra penny because I like to eat out,” Mullen said.
During Mullen’s two terms as city councilman, he said the Dogwoods Golf Course never broke even.
“I was told by the Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks not to build that golf course,” Mullen said.
Mullen also said, referring to the city council, “There’s a problem with credibility, and we need to be careful.”

Col. Tim Freelon (left) was one of many who asked questions at the forum. Looking on are Chris Collins and Justin Lewis.