Jackson County pushing family friendly recreation

Splash pad
Splash pad

By Sylvia Hall - bio | email

JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX)- "Enjoy the facility," said District 1 Supervisor Manley Barton to the East Central High School tennis team.

They stood on brand new hard top, regulation sized tennis courts on the north end of Lum Cumbest Park on Highway 63.

"This is what it's all about.  That's the reason we've invested in it is so y'all can use it, and I hope you enjoy it."

It could be a dream come true for the team.  They have a set of six brand new courts, only a short drive from home.  They will use them for practice, and the community will have them for recreation.

"I think it's great for the community so kids won't be going out doing other things that they don't need to doing," said Senior Heather Baehler.  "They can be playing tennis here instead of going out and doing other things."

"I just think it gives people more things to do here locally, and now maybe they don't have to go somewhere else to enjoy things," Barton said.

Despite a million dollar decrease in funding for this year, this complex is only one of many recreational developments in store for Jackson County this year. Also in the works, are two other tennis complexes, in Vancleave and in St. Martin. The county is also building a soccer complex at Lum Cumbest Park, and three new splash pads.  One of those will also be at Lum Cumbest, another at Edward C. Khayat Park in Moss Point, and the third at St. Andrews park.

The splash pads are all set to open by summer.  It's part of a family-friendly initiative in Jackson County recreation.

"In really kind of a concerted effort, we sat down and said, 'You know, for the next few years we want to try to make improvements to the parks that brings the family more into play.' So that families can come and enjoy the park and do family types of recreational things.

"The people of the county, they're going to have what they need, basically to come out, and whatever they want to at one of our parks. They're going to have the opportunity," said Recreation Director Jack Hamilton.

Most of these projects have been part of the budget for years, and were not affected by the recession.