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Teamwork will make our dream work on parks

There are many sayings about teamwork in sports, such as “teamwork makes the dream work,” “there is no I in team,” and “talent wins games, but teamwork wins championships.”

Even those who possess great natural skills are thought to fail if “they are not a team player.”

The simple concept of working together is instilled by coaches from the youngest recreation teams through the Atlanta Falcons. 

When the Braves are rolling, Coach Brian Snitker will comment on how “the team” is functioning well – pitching, hitting, and defense all taking care of business. Hopefully, we’ll see that later this season but it’s looking a bit rocky right now.

Somehow this concept hasn’t translated to the state of recreation in Pickens County.  There is no team, just different bodies located in the same community.

As the city of Jasper and the county are both (independently) looking to expand, re-design, or at least clean up their park facilities, it seems obvious a little cooperation would be best for everyone’s game plan.

The county is planning to install pickleball courts and fund a new pool next year. The city has just opened new mountain bike trails and is looking for ideas on what to do at the city park (duck pond), an area often criticized but with a ton of potential – ballfields, a wooded area, paved trails, the pond.

Talking Rock boasts nice trails, a creek, and great hanging out/picnic spots. Nelson has ballfields, playgrounds, and trails. There is also a private mountain biking trail.

This doesn’t even consider the numerous gyms/fields/playgrounds located on school campuses, which for reasons hard to fathom are not routinely figured into overall recreation plans. We would remind all parties that these all were funded through our citizens’ tax dollars. (Editor’s Note: We know the vast majority were funded by sales tax, but it’s managed by our taxpayer-funded bodies, so close enough — it’s from the public coffers.)

You would think the cities and county would jump through hoops to work together simply to stretch park budgets. If the county is funding a pool, then the cities can fund something else. And if you have baseball fields at the city park, there might be room for new soccer fields at Roper Park.

As far as we know there is no set-in-stone rule that different governments can’t combine forces on recreation, maybe even make it a permanent deal as in consolidation. Yet, teamwork never seems to happen. In fact, at a meeting with the county’s recreation board last fall, some of those members were incredulous about the lack of joint discussion on locating one larger set of pickleball courts for all to enjoy.

Ultimately to people out enjoying a picnic under a pavilion, kids playing ball or on a swing set, or someone walking around a track after knee surgery, it doesn’t matter one bit if the park has a county logo, a city’s logo, or the school’s at the gate.

To get the ball rolling we’d like to ask why the cities and county do not have joint recreation meetings? Even if they aren’t combining, they can still be publicly cooperating. Surely a good sit-down discussion (with the public invited) would help move this ball towards the goal line. To spark some new ideas about renovating what we have and, hopefully, planning and funding some improvements for all residents of this county.

In the words of our undisputed Georgia sports authority, our leaders need to “Surround yourself with people who have the same goals and the same mindset. Together, you can accomplish anything.” Coach Kirby Smart.

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