• Priceville could pay for road extension with leftovers from $7M rec center

    From The Decatur Daily
    by Evan Belanger
    PRICEVILLE — After approving a $9 million bond issue last week, town officials plan to build and open by next fall a 66,000-square-foot recreation center at North Park.
    They’re also planning to use a portion of the bond proceeds to extend Marco Drive to East Upper River Road in a bid [...]


  • Longtime Priceville police chief to retire

    From The Decatur Daily
    by Evan Belanger
    PRICEVILLE — Longtime Priceville Police Chief Billy Peebles will retire next week after more than 31 years on the force and more than 41 years in law enforcement.
    Peebles, 63, will step down from the town’s top law enforcement job effective Wednesday.
    “There comes a time in a person’s life when it’s [...]


  • Priceville seeking OK to borrow $9 million

    From The Decatur Daily
    by Deangelo McDaniel
    PRICEVILLE — The town of Priceville is seeking authorization from a Morgan County circuit judge to borrow $9 million to construct a 66,000-square-foot recreation center near North Bethel Road and East Upper River Road.
    A hearing on the matter will be held June 9 at 10 a.m. in the Morgan County [...]

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$8 million rec center planned for Priceville

From The Decatur Daily
by Evan Belanger

PRICEVILLE — Town officials hope to break ground as early as August on a roughly 66,000-square-foot recreation center, the first to be built in the fast-growing community.

Mayor Melvin Duran confirmed this week town officials are preparing to go to the bond market to pay for the estimated $8 million center.

“We have a pretty young group of people living out here with kids who play sports and are involved in youth leagues, and that’s something we’ve tried to keep up with,” he said.

Plans for the center were not complete, but Duran said it will include four basketball courts that can be converted into eight volleyball courts, a walking track, one or two batting cages, a fitness center and a rehab center.

The new facilities will be built on 8.4 acres at North Bethel Road and East Upper River Road near the new Priceville High School, which opened last year.

Morgan County donated the land to the town in December. The property was part of the county’s North Park, which has five baseball and softball fields, two soccer fields, a playground, restrooms and pavilions.

County Commission Chairman Ray Long said it made sense to donate the land, because the recreation center would be available to residents across the community.

The planned fitness and rehab centers in the new recreation facility will be operated under contract by Encore Rehabilitation, which opened its first location in Priceville about three months ago in the old Dollar General building on Alabama 67.

Encore Clinic Director Justin Hargett said Encore will relocate its new Priceville operation into the recreation center once it is completed.

“We wanted to get established in Priceville before then,” he said of Encore’s new Priceville location, noting it serves customers from Priceville and Somerville who once had to deal with traffic on Beltline Road to get to Encore’s clinic in Decatur.

The fitness center will be open to the public, but Encore will charge membership fees, Duran said.

Plans for the new recreation center come during a period of significant residential and commercial growth for the town. From 2000 to 2014, its population grew by 83 percent from 1,674 to 3,063.

Duran said the growth is a challenge for the town’s infrastructure, particularly street improvements and recreation facilities, but town officials are working to keep pace.

“It’s a good problem to have. It’s a lot better than worrying about making cuts,” he said.

Plans for the new recreation center come as officials in Athens plan for a new recreation center at the Athens Sportplex, complementing the existing center on Pryor Street.

Athens Mayor Ronnie Marks said he hopes to present plans for that project to the City Council later this year. A $2.7 million project to construct additional baseball and softball fields at the Sportsplex is also in the works, Marks said.

In Decatur, officials are working to increase availability for existing recreation facilities.

District 1 Councilman Billy Jackson said operational hours were cut years ago for budgetary reasons and that Mayor Tab Bowling has reinstated some since taking office.

“I think it’s so vital for our community to have recreation facilities simply for the fact that it’s a stress reliever for residents,” he said. “Even if there is a cost associated with it for the city, I think it’s worth it.”

Decatur Parks and Recreation Director Jeff Dunlap said they moved classes around to create 11 extra hours of open gym time per week at Fort Decatur, but they did not increase operational hours.

Jackson said more public availability is still needed.