Friday was an important day in Carter County.
We were a witness to it.
The event we are referencing is featured on today's front page -- it was the official groundbreaking for the $7 million Carter County sports park. It was a rainy day on Friday, but that didn't get in the way of people gathering at 596 Robert & Mary Ave. by East Carter Middle School to celebrate the groundbreaking.
It is worth noting here that this is a major project for the community. Leaders said the facility will span over 64 acres of land.
Mindy Woods-Click, chair of the Grayson Tourism Commission and the Grayson Park Board,said the park has been a dream for the last 30 years and the plans are most certainly ambitious.They include three baseball fields and a soccer field, a concession stand and press box area, four soccer fields total, with some doubling as football fields, along with basketball and tennis courts.
There are also plans for an amphitheater, splash pad area, walking trails and a canoe/kayak launch.
The project is funded with the borrowing of more than $7 million that is paid back through proceeds from a 3% restaurant tax.
Grayson Mayor George Steele was on the mark with his comment that the park will "boost the economy and provide local entertainment and recreation.”
Steele pointed out that the park will be the only one of its kind in the five-county area, noting that it is coming at a good time in conjunction with the rise of Braidy Industries.
He said the plan is to have the park completed by next May.
We at the paper are strong supporters of this project. No one likes additional taxes, but this is a wise investment in the future of Carter County. Why? Rural counties can find great prospects for economic growth in recreational opportunities. Carter County already has so many natural resources available to it. Adding this type of sports and recreation complex to the county's assets is a brilliant and commendable endeavor.
Consider these facts from the National Recreation and Park Association produced in May 2018:
— Parks and recreation is an engine of substantial economic activity in community.
— Local parks and recreation facilities shape perceptions of a community and its overall quality of life.
— Investments in improving a community's quality of life can create a virtuous cycle: high quality of life locations attracts workers which can attract employers.
— Increased property values results from well maintained recreation facilities and parks.
On our social media spaces just the mention of this sports park has given you a strong indicator of the value of this project.
People from across the region, from Ashland, Greenup and even Lawrence counties have told us they couldn't to wait to use this facility because of a lack of similar resources across the region.
This project is a huge deal for Carter County. All those involved in making it happen deserve a ton of credit and we thank them for all their work.