There is nothing quite like small town politics. People in a small town are usually passionate about something in one direction or the other. There is normally not many in "betweeners". Such seems to be the case in our little small town lately when the local paper reported on the city council's recommendations for the upcoming SPLOST penny that will be voted on in June. Fitzgerald has traditionally supported the SPLOST penny and has used it very wisely over the past years to fund capital projects, however I think that someone should call a penalty and throw a yellow flag at the newest idea that has been proposed.
Along with recommendations that will help pay off debt on the city's remodel of City Hall, as well as Economic Development and a new gym for the Recreation Department, the City Council allowed a recommendation to be included the would provide "artificial field turf" to the current football stadium at the cost of about $700-800 thousand. Now let me go on the record as saying that we have a wonderful football program with one of the best football coaches in the state and I understand the economic impact as well as community moral that the football team generates, but I can not see the need for artificial turf in a Double A stadium in a town that is losing jobs by the hundreds and suffering one of the worst economic climates of the past 70 years.
Other proposals to the stadium include improving the visitors side bleachers, building visitors rest rooms, and building a new building for the visiting team to dress in. I can live with that. If we do that, we will have one of the nicest stadiums in south GA for any classification. Why do we need field turf that will have to be replaced in ten years and has been proven to cause more injuries to players? Funny you should ask!
The arguments for the turf are that we can host games that ESPN might want to broadcast. When was the last time you watched a AA high school game on ESPN for a team that has one state title in 102 years of playing football? Another argument is that other folks can use the field like the soccer team and band. I'm gonna go out on a limb and say that the band will never see the stadium for practice during football season. The DLS has been trying to give the school the park right next to the stadium. I'm guessing that a nice little soccer complex can be built for less that $700K. But we can host concerts on a turf field!! When was that last time a big name came to Fitzgerald for a concert? We have a wonderful Grand Theater that they can perform in if they get the urge.
I know that I may seem a little upset about this proposal, and I guess I kind of am, but I am mainly concerned that this proposal will hurt the chances of the SPLOST passing. WE NEED THIS SPLOST!! It is vital to our city's well being. I WILL vote for it no matter what, but I'm scared that some people will vote against it because they do not feel that this is needed at a time when we are asking teachers to take days off without pay. If I remember right, we have football for school, not school for football.
So why not have the nicest stadium in south GA with beautiful plush God made REAL grass? I'll pick up my yellow flag if the council will just say "my bad, can we have a do over?"