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Recreation Department could be cut

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January 12, 2007

Leesburg--Four-year old Sierra Brogdon loves to play baseball with her dad. She plays three sports at the Lee County Recreation Department and the YMCA, but Robbie Brogdon worries the athletic development of his little girl and other children in the county may be hurt if the Rec Department shuts down. "The high school has recently won a spate of region championships softball, football, baseball. All of it is a direct result of the Recreation Department," Brogdon said.

County leaders are considering outsourcing the work of the Recreation Department to the Albany Area YMCA to save money. Brogdon says the Y does great work but doesn't offer the same services as the county department. He and other parents want to make sure county leaders fully study the proposal before they decide to make cuts. "It's the easy thing on paper to do, but for our kids it's possibly the worst possible thing to do," Brogdon said.

Rec Department Director Eddie Dixon worries he and his five employees could soon be out of work, and he says answers from county leaders have been hard to come by. "I've been to them and asked them several times, and they just continue to tell me to do business as usual and my work ethic is that's the way I am anyway."

Dixon says his department has a good reputation and serves about 1500 athletes every year. Dixon said, "Our program has grown, so that tells me that they like what we do. I know they're pleased with the flaying facilities. The fields and all are in real good shape."

Brogdon says the Department does such a good job, people travel from towns 30 miles away to take part in the Lee County sports. "This Recreation Department has an outstanding reputation of excellent coaches, good parent involvement, and you're not gonna get that in a lot of places," Brogdon said.

He hopes people in Lee County will continue to get that service from their Recreation Department for years to come so his young daughter can continue to play the sports she loves.

County Administrator Alan Ours and county commissioners were out of town on county business today. Ours told us by phone that commissioners directed him to study potential outsourcing in all county departments. He says that process is ongoing, and it would likely be Spring before any formal proposal could be drawn up.

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