Mayor says new Athens recreation center ahead of schedule

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ATHENS, Ala. -  With recent rains, the City of Athens said they've had to take a couple construction breaks, but Mayor Ronnie Marks said the new recreation center is actually coming along just fine.

"They're ahead of schedule, and under budget and ahead of schedule," said Marks.

The facility slated to open in 2020 costs about $16.2 million to build.

"It sits right in with the current Sportsplex," Marks added. "Which is within walking distance of the new $60 million high school."

When construction is complete, amenities will be spread across 70,000 square feet.

"The high school currently has plans for our old rec center that has been well maintained. To use it as a field house for the football players that practice here," said Marks.

While some parts look a little muddy right now, Mayor Marks said there will be something for everyone in the new facility including three basketball courts, a walking track, and an all-purpose field with synthetic turf.

"We're growing, and we're growing fast. And one of the things that younger folks and all of us want is to keep young people actively involved not only in education but in arts and in recreation."

The city is planning to build a central park behind the new facility on the former site of the Pilgrim's Pride chicken plant.

"We're trying to look at planning and development and attracting people to our community," Marks explained.

He said that's a constant brainstorming session.

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