The first meeting of the Rotary Club of LaGrange in 2018 took place on Wednesday, January 10th, to a packed house. With the first of the year upon us, the Rotary Club is looking to come out strong with several new programs and different events that they will be involved with over the course of the calendar year. On this day, the group’s program involved a very pivotal part of the community at large, a part that has more than likely affected the lives of almost everyone that lives here. Cajen Rhodes, the Director of the Troup County Parks and Recreation Department, spoke to the Rotary Club about all of their projects in 2018.
The parks department operates under Rhodes with about 36 full time employees. They also utilize about 100 part time employees as well. They have facilities in LaGrange, West Point, and Hogansville. Rhodes discussed the parks’ budget which operates at around four and a half million dollars. While this is a huge budget, they offset this by obtaining around 55% of this through self initiated funds, grants, and sponsorships. They have a huge economic impact as well, hosting 21 baseball/ softball tournaments, several large tennis tournaments, and collectively brought in over 32,000 people to our community last year, with these people spending cash in our community.
Rhodes then launched into the parks, facilities, and programs that the group takes care off. There are several local neighborhood parks, with Calumet, Granger, and Westside just to name a few. There are also 15 different athletic facilities across the three cities. There are many other offerings as well, including active life centers, playgrounds, lakeside facilities, campgrounds, and several other things. They also offer a variety of sports programs for children such as baseball, soccer, tennis, and others. Parks and Rec never turns away any child for financial purposes, making sure that every kid has the opportunity to play. The programs are also very affordable, with an average of around $60 per child.
The Parks and Rec Department is always looking for financial support and sponsorship, a fact that they spoke to the Rotarians about that afternoon. These programs are not cheap to maintain and any help that can be provided will help serve the group in a great capacity. Parks and Rec touches all of our lives in some way or another, so it is up to us to make sure that it is around for a long, long time.