Who doesn't enjoy a day at the park with friends and family? In Tuscaloosa, city and county-leaders realize how important. Parks and recreation facilities are to the quality of life. Which is why they've designated millions of dollars for upgrades.
Tuscaloosa County is the second largest county in Alabama, with about 200-thousand people. Some of the larger parks within Tuscaloosa see more than the total population in visits per year. And the amenities are in need of a major facelift.
Tuscaloosa City Council's finance committee approved more than five million dollars for park and activity center upgrades. County leaders will contribute more than four million for projects. A total of twelve of Tuscaloosa's thirty-six parks will receive upgrades.
"It's mostly the fields themselves, they were built with no irrigation, so now you need irrigation to make the grass pretty, the fences are thirty plus years old, concessions are thirty plus years old," Garry Minor, executive director for Tuscaloosa County Parks and Recreation Authority.
He said the problems couldn't be overlooked any longer because some of them were becoming safety issues. Even toilets are on the list of items to be replaced.
"A thirty year old toilet in your house might not be too bad, but a thirty year old toilet in a public facility which sometimes gets thousands of people in a day, it's old," said Minor.
But not all upgrades are health and safety related. Some will be for the pure enjoyment of their visitors. Minor says he's pleased city and county leaders have stepped up to make a difference.
"You know our councilmen and county commissioners, they have kids and grand kids who play in these parks and they see the conditions that we are currently faced with," he said.
Minor says he hopes to start seeing movement toward the end of summer or beginning of fall.