March 23, 2004 -- Posted at 7 p.m. CST
Paragould -- Several major park and recreation projects are underway in the city of Paragould. The price tag: 13.5 million dollars.
The largest project currently under construction is a new Community Center. The massive facility, which is expected to be complete by the end of this year, will house 2 basketball courts, handball courts, meeting rooms with state of the art video and sound equipment, and 2 indoor pools and 2 outdoor pools.
"It's going to take on a life of its own and a personality of its own," said Paragould Mayor Mike Gaskill.
Gaskill says the city has outgrown the current community center built in 1969.
"Every segment of the population of Paragould will be able to utilize something under this park project," said Gaskill.
Without hesitation, Paragould residents voted for a half penny tax increase to fund construction of the facility. In addition, they have chosen another half penny permanent tax increase for maintenance purposes.
"It was very fortunate because people saw the need for recreation in our community because that's what we were weak in," said Gaskill.
But all the action isn't just happening under one roof. Included also in this project are 11 new soccer fields and two new men's softball fields.
"For the quality of life I think our citizens expect good things to happen when they give us their money," said Gaskill.