Thursday, January 19, 2006

Local Recreation Board Listens To Residents

LABELLE, FL. -- The Hendry-LaBelle Recreation Board met this Tuesday for its monthly meeting, listening to residents and their hopes to get board approval for their various projects. The board is made up of local politicians including LaBelle City Commissioners Dave Lyons and Bob Miller, Hendry School Board member Patrick Langford, and Hendry County Commissioners Darrell Harris and Bill Maddox, Jr.

Margaret England gave an overview of the LaBelle Nature Park project for which her group hopes to eventually get funding for an educational building, canoe trails with a boardwalk, and a cleanup of the waterway on the east of the property. (photo: Margaret England speaking, Pat Murphy, Dave Lyons, Bob Miller, Darrell Harris)

Tony Tolar asked and was granted the board's approval to raise funds for local youth sports by selling fresh fruits and vegetables on an internet webpage where orders would be taken online for later delivery as crops are picked. Tolar said a few thousand dollars might be raised for the youth sports park. Tolar is in the vegetable business.

The matter of Port LaBelle residents hoping for a recommendation to fund a study to determine if the county could purchase the Oxbox Golf Course and run it as a public facility seems to be a dead issue as neither the board of the County Commission seems enthused about the idea. The issue was sent back to the recreation board by the County Commission at their last meeting. The board tabled the issue this time. Bill Maddox said he thought it was a little too late to attempt to purchase the property and wasn't inclined to fund a study to see if it could be profitable for the county and it's residents to have a public golf course.

A lawyer and landscape architect from the Bonita Bay Group showed off a proposed drawing for a sport park behind the current Christian School on Cowboy Way. They also suggested that if the county could wait about four more years, Bonita Bay would be interested in negotiating a reduction of impact fees for building sports facilities in their proposed housing development on south State Road 29. The board members accepted an invitation to visit a YMCA facility being developed by Bonita Bay in the Collier County.

Local real estate businessman and head of the Florida Sod Growers Cooperative Fred Burson offered his help to develop new ball fields for the board, pending the hoped sale of the current land and sports fields at Davis Pratt Park in west LaBelle. Burson had been active in Little League sports for 30 years he said and helped develop Lee county's Buckingham Sports Park.

The next meeting is scheduled for February 21 at 6:30 p.m.

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