ELLIJAY, Ga. – Discussions arose this month as the Gilmer County Board of Commissioners approached the idea of re-establishing the county’s Parks and Recreation Advisory Board in a restructured format.
Board of Commissioners Chairman Charlie Paris spoke in the county’s meeting saying that the board had been disbanded due to infighting and an abundance of authority and abilities on the board. Now, Paris said that the county has increased in activity and engagement with the Parks and Recreation Department so much that a need is apparent for an advisory board that does not have the same powers as the original.
Instead the restructure will see the new board focusing on its advisory role to the BOC and reporting to them. As such, one specific note from Post Commissioner Hubert Parker stated that he could support the board’s establishment “with limited powers and using extreme caution in appointing members of the board.”
Paris noted that he would like to fashion the Parks and Recreations Advisory Board very similarly to the Golf Course Advisory Board.
Post Commissioner Karleen Ferguson also noted that she would like to see different points of the county’s park users represented on the board, meaning that a person representing the little league sports, one from those using the tennis and pickleball courts, and another from the swim teams or some form of pool use as just a few examples.
During their regular meeting, Paris suggested the board be made up of nine people with each commissioner nominating three members to the board in order to cover the many different branches of citizens who use the park differently. Parker commented that this would be a large board but he could support that. Discussion saw Paris offering an alternative of a six member board with each commission nominating 2 people as he just wanted to focus on each commissioner having an equal nomination. However, after saying that the nine person board would help cover the different areas, Paris put this board into a motion.
As the county moves forward, they will nominate the members to the board and order them to establish officers and by-laws.
Incorporating the board into the county, it will aid the BOC in its advisory capacity, but also as an information disseminator as Ferguson said the varied representation would also allow each board member to go back to their areas and inform the public about the Advisory Board and the County’s direction in its Parks and Recreation department.
Director of Parks and Recreation Kevan White said he was okay with the board coming back if it was restructured as suggested. He stated, “It’s probably going to be the best way that they can advocate to [the BOC], to tell you what we need for the future.”