Lavonia Talking About Ball Field Complex With Franklin Co. Recreation Dept.

By MJ Kneiser, WLHR Radio, Lavonia

The City of Lavonia is in talks with the Franklin County Recreation Department about a different lease option for the Lavonia ball fields.

Last year, the Franklin County Little League used the field and the city paid for the ball field upkeep.

However, at a called meeting earlier this month, Lavonia City Manager Gary Fesperman said the city lost money because it wasn’t a good year financially for the Rec Department programs. He said that Lavonia made less than $5,000 on last year’s Rec Dept ball season, which is not enough for all the work that needed to be done at the ball fields.

According to Fesperman, that does not give Lavonia any cushion for major repairs, such as work on the parking lots that is overdue.

Fesperman told the council that last year, Lavonia had to repair concrete on the pad, fix the scoreboard, replace some lighting, and repair some potholes. He said the total expenses on the ball fields last year totaled $20,000.

Fesperman said he’s now in talks with Franklin County Rec Department Director Randall Gailley to come up with a better solution to cost sharing.

According to Fesperman, an option is to come up with a lease fee and let the Franklin County Rec Department assume all the responsibilities of keeping the fields groomed, keeping the grass cut and doing minor maintenance, while the city of Lavonia would still keep up the buildings and comp them the trash pick up and water and sewer.

Fesperman said the Lavonia ball fields need to be part of the overall Franklin County Recreation Department program because most of the kids who use the field do not live in Lavonia.

Lavonia Mayor Ralph Owens suggested another maintenance option using the town’s SPLOST monies and noted the city of Lavonia has over a million dollars invested in the ball field complex on Bear Creek Road.

No vote was taken and Fesperman said he would update the Lavonia City Council on his talks with the Franklin County Rec Department at future meetings.