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|Vidalia recreation deal signed|
Calling it an exciting night "for all of us," Recreation District No. 3 Chairman Mark Archer signed an agreement last week with Bryant Hammett & Associates to proceed with the building of a recreational complex near Wal-Mart in Vidalia.
The District No. 3 board gave Archer the power to sign all documents relating to the project with advisement from the board on a monthly basis.
"This is a great day for everybody in Vidalia," Archer said, during the September 3 meeting.
Archer said public hearings will be heard at different locations around the district.
"You as a board are going to have to sit down and take all the comments from the public and come to some kind of final design," Hammett said. "Input from the public is very important."
Archer said he believes the complex will be ready for play by the summer of 2012.
"There's no telling how many trees we're going to kill signing papers with what the USDA requires" Hammett said. "It's very frustrating the amount of paperwork the require. It's their money, so they make the rules. And it will take a while with the environmental review. The actual building process will not take that long."
Vidalia Mayor Hyram Copeland has been a strong advocate for a recreation complex for several years, having visited complexes in places such as Tupelo, Miss., and St. Francisville.
"It is one of the most tremendous projects Vidalia has undertaken, and I believe it will have a tremendous economic impact," he said. "It will provide something for the children."
At the recreation board's next meeting, it will decide on hiring a bonding attorney, Archer said.
Board member John H. Turner asked what the board could do to ensure local labor is hired for the construction.
"In the bid contract you can encourage use of local labor, but you can't mandate it," Hammett said. "This is the federal government, so they're looking at it as a bigger universe than we're used to. The USDA will require the contract be awarded to the lowest bidder."
The recreation district bought 20 of the 50 acres for the complex, while the City of Vidalia bought 30 acres adjacent to the tract the recreation district bought, and then leased its tract to the recreation district as part of an intergovernmental agreement.
The land cost $17,000 an acre.
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