‘Management 101’

City harvesting mature pines on site of future sports park

By Kevin Spradlin

Voters soundly rejected a sales tax referendum in the November 2014 general election, but that doesn’t mean city of Rockingham officials plan to let the 108-acre site along Old Aberdeen Road go to waste.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com Allen Bros. Timber Company, of Rockingham, was awarded the bid to implement a timber management plan after a public Request for Proposals.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com
Allen Bros. Timber Company, of Rockingham, was awarded the bid to implement a timber management plan after a public Request for Proposals.

For nearly two weeks, workers with Allen Bros. Timber Company, of Rockingham, have been on the scene harvesting mature pines and clearing a portion of the area for new growth. Rockingham City Manager Monty Crump said that was always the plan — long before the referendum.

The idea, he said, is to maximize the value of the land. The city purchased the land nearly eight years ago invested approximately $130,000 in civil engineering and preliminary assessments to determine if the site was suitable for building ballfields. Crump, who grew up in a timber family, said the timber on site is worth approximately $200,000.

An Allen Bros. Timber Company worker said Friday that work should be finished up next week. Proceeds from harvest sales will be re-invested in the city’s Urban Development Action Grant fund, which is where the $130,000 in civil engineering. The fund routinely makes low-interest loans to industrial and commercial ventures within city limits.

While there is no progress on the sports complex at this time, Crump was confident on Friday that it’s a matter of when, not if. He said city leaders will be discussing future plans for the site during the current round of budget talks. The sales tax referendum had garnered the support of the Richmond County Chamber of Commerce, Richmond County government, the Rockingham Downtown Corporation and the Richmond County Board of Realtors, among other entities.

The facility would include four baseball/softball fields, three youth baseball/softball fields, four more adult baseball/softball fields, an 18-hole disk golf course, a tennis facility, a soccer complex comprised of five playing fields and an activity center, complete with a miniature train, a splash park, a carousel, a playground and a dog park, among other amenities.

The city currently charges a $10 fee for out-of-city children who play in the city’s Parks and Recreation programs. Between 60 percent and 65 percent of the city’s Parks and Rec participants live outside city limits.

In November, however, nearly three out of every four county voters — 8,661, or 70.4 percent for to 3,638 against — said “no thanks” to a quarter-cent increase on the county sales tax that would have hiked the rate to 7 percent from 6.75 percent.

Related coverage:
Keith Parsons’ complete prepared statement
* Sept. 25: Carolina Journal: Use of taxpayer dollars for recreation is ‘bad public policy’
* Sept. 19 – Chamber endorses sales tax referendum
* Sept. 16 – Local, state agencies aiding pro-sales tax group
* Sept. 15 – Campaign signs support sales tax hike
* July 7 – Voters to weigh in on sales tax referendum

Filed in: Farm & Ag, Featured News, Latest Headlines, News, Outdoors, Rockingham, Sports

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  • Joe DeBerry

    Can not wait until November 2016 to get these Politicians out of office that just are out to continue to Mislead the Voters here in Richmond County and replace the Complete City Council and hope to get a New Mayor that knows how to do a job and get rid of This city Manager that is as waste full as a Kid in a Candy store. No tax dollars will be used on this Land you used tax money to waste on this useless Sports Complex and we will find away to stop it again until we have Leaders that understand how to Run this County and the City Of Rockingham .What we have in office is a bunch that has been in control way to many years that have for gotten what they were Put in office for the People of this County and is only in there for their selves and we will do what we can to remove you all.Have another wasted day in office while you can. Hope to see you all packing up your Belongings up after the Elections in 2016 .

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