The North Tangi Recreation Park was a project our town started working on near the dawn of the decade. As we close out the decade, we are only a few steps past where we started with this massive project.
Nearly 1 million dollars have been spent on the construction of the NTRP and what we have are three near complete baseball fields an outhouse and a gravel parking lot. This is not the fault of our new contractors MAGEE (who had their work cut out for them in the wake of the previous contractor) but because of issues with the handling of the project in the past.
What is a sight for sore eyes is the propagation of grass at the park after nearly 5 years of attempts by two companies to get it to grow. There are still some patches where the grass needs to spread, but over time and with regular lawn care the grass should appear as expected for a recreation complex.
Above is a comparison of the grass growth between March and December. The "lime treating" seems to have been a success for the most part and the grass has come through the mesh that was lain over the seeds.
Currently, there just about 80 spaces in the parking lot which is probably adequate. The adjacent lot at Southwest Mississippi Community College's baseball field has 100 spots. Though, SMCC has plenty of alternative lots which could be used to handle an overflow of attendees for their events. A parking problem we may face could come with teams utilizing a bus.
Cars could opt to park on the gravel road leading to the park if push came to shove, but the trail would only be able to accommodate about 18 vehicles parked bumper to bumper on one side from the gate to the entrance.
What is quite unfortunate however, and I mentioned this in my previous update, is the seating situation. According to the engineer for the park, the seating arrangements that would have been built into the slope behind home base was removed from the plans by the previous administration due to a lack of funding.
The solution by the current administration was to use the bleachers from the old OW Dillon Elementary field to serve as a seating solution at the Recreation park. This was done in part because the grant providers wanted photographs of the field being used.
These rusty bleachers frankensteined into this million dollar project cannot be what we leave at the park if we are looking to have tournaments held there as mentioned by Mayor Bates at the December Council Meeting.
At the moment there are only two sets of bleachers a the park that sit about 30-40 feet away from the edge of the field. As for the capacity, one bleacher set can only seat 45 people each and that's if everyone is about an inch and a half apart from another. That means attendees would have to bring foldable chairs if more than 90 people are expected to show up for a game.
As for the bathroom situation, the outhouse is still there. The black pipes seem to be tubes for the stench to travel upwards from the two septic tanks underneath the structure. I have been told that the building can be lifted out of the ground an moved elsewhere and I for one have been yearning that day for quite some years.
This structure needs to be moved or somehow re-purposed because its presence is unwarranted for such an expensive an important project and it was never in any of the marketed blueprints at the time of its construction. Not only that, but the optics of this building is terrible. Imagine after one of these theoretical tournaments having to send someone to pump and transport the raw sewage out of the trap doors behind the building.
If that's not enough, the health risks should be sufficient grounds to want this structure gone. When I visited the site just a few days ago, the bathrooms were teeming with mosquitoes....in December.
These insects thrive in sewage and standing water and have the potential of spreading a plethora of diseases. In the future it would only be a matter of time before something harmful and ridiculous happens in connection with these sewage covered mosquitoes.
I for one will not favor any motions to open this park to the public until the seating and restroom problem is resolved in a meaningful way.
If my colleagues and I cannot reach a substantive consensus on this, then in Kentwood Louisiana this is all 1 Million Dollars can buy you.