Dalton's John Davis Recreation Center is starting to show its age, according to some members of a citizens advisory committee that will make recommendations to the county Board of Commissioners for projects to be funded by a planned 2020 Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST).
"It's a 60-year-old building," said committee member David Pennington IV. "There's a lot of significant issues, especially with rainfall and water coming off the hill (behind the building) into the foundation. A lot of times if it rains too hard they have to close the gymnasium."
Several committee members singled out the restrooms in the building, which is next to the city's only public swimming pool, in James Brown Park.
"They are embarrassing," said committee member Bob Huskey, who noted that they are one of the things that visiting swim teams will see when they go in the building.
On Wednesday, at Dalton's Mack Gaston Community Center, Dalton Parks and Recreation Department Director Mike Miller briefed committee members on his department's proposed SPLOST projects, and a new $8.5 million John Davis Recreation Center opened his presentation.
Miller said the current building was built in three stages. The original section was built in 1957. In 1963, the building was expanded with a gym and additional office space. In 1986, the city added more office space and programming areas.
Miller said one of the issues with the building is that the oldest two parts of the building were not designed and built with air conditioning, which was added later, in mind. As a result, condensation inside the building causes the paint to peel and mold to form.
Data presented by Miller indicated it would be less expensive to build a new building than to renovate the current building ($8.78 million).
Miller said if the department does receive funding for the new building it will also be located in James Brown Park near the corner of Avenue C and Mitchell Street.
The department's request also includes $3.5 million for two regulation-size soccer fields in Heritage Point Park.
Miller said the city does not currently have a regulation-size field. He said 130 teams a year use the field at Lakeshore Park. And 155 teams a year use the fields at the Broaddus/Durkan Soccer Complex, James Brown Park and the Mack Gaston Community Center.
The department also requested $1.5 million for a walking trail connecting Haig Mill Lake Park to the Crown Mill Village area near downtown Dalton.
It also requested $350,000 to upgrade and renovate the kitchen and dining area of the Dalton-Whitfield Senior Center. The center is jointly funded by the city and Whitfield County but managed by the city recreation department.
The senior center serves 30 to 40 breakfasts and 60 to 80 lunches each day. Lunches are $3 for those 50 and older, and a breakfast biscuit with ham or sausage or gravy or bacon costs $1.
The department also requested $125,000 to replace a 2007 model passenger bus for the senior center. The center uses the bus to take seniors on outings two or three times each month.
The committee will only make recommendations for the SPLOST. The projects that will actually be placed on the ballot will be determined by the Whitfield County Board of Commissioners in coordination with the councils of the county's four cities.
The committee will meet on Thursday, Oct. 17, at 6 p.m. at the Mack Gaston Community Center. The committee’s meetings are open to the public and can be livestreamed at https://livestream.com/accounts/25637515/events/7960637.