|Macon-Bibb County has set aside more than $8.2 million for a new recreation center in south Bibb on Hartley Bridge Road.
It's a 120-acre plot of land with just as many ideas for what will land there.
"With 120 acres, it's very important we have a master plan and get community input so it's done right the first time," SPLOST project manager, Clay Murphey, told 13WMAZ Wednesday.
Some of that money has already been spent, but county leaders want the community to propose what they want built there with the remaining $7.6 million.
"The only way it's going to be built the way the community wants is if they show up," Murphey said.
Those meetings are planned for May 14, May 28 and June 4 at 6:30 p.m. at the Rutland High School cafeteria and open to anyone with ideas for the Sub South area.
"What you're going to find is there's enough land to do what everybody wants," Murphey said.
That varies, Murphey says. Some want baseball fields, others want a modern indoor pool for competitive swimming, while tennis fans are volleying for 24 new courts.
Murphey says others have asked for a smaller recreation center, similar to that of North Macon Park, Freedom Park or the Bloomfield Recreation Center.
The county commission will decide which items take priority after hearing what people think during three community meetings.
But Donna Bailey of the Macon Tennis Association says she hopes the Sub South area will include more tennis courts.
"Even the tournaments I have right now, I don't have enough courts," Bailey said.
She estimates those state and regional tournaments generate at least $8 million a year for the county.
"It fills up our restaurants, hotels and our shopping," Bailey said.
That's money she says could easily land elsewhere around the state if Macon stops growing.
"Columbus is building 20 more courts. Rome is building 70 courts. Carrollton is building more courts," she said.
Officials stress what ends up at Sub South is ultimately up to the community to help decide.
"It's your community rec centers, so get involved," Murphey said.
Murphey says after the community meetings, engineers from Vaughn & Melton will compile the input from community members, develop a master plan and submit that to county commissioners.
It will then be up to the commissioners to put together a priority list, which allow the engineers to begin drawings and plans for construction.
Murphey says the master plan is important because the project will likely require more money before it can be fully completed. However, he says the remaining $7.6 million will be used to build the first phase of the Sub South Recreation Center once community and county leaders decide what the most pressing priority is.
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