REDCO eyes making improvements to city park

by Cristin Parker

Rusk’s I.C. Conley Park is on the city’s list of summer projects, thanks to the Rusk Economic Development Corporation (REDCO).

REDCO Executive Director Bob Goldsberry in May approached the Rusk City Council to ask for a budget amendment of $12,000 to build a volleyball court in the park on Reeder Street.

“One of our residents requested we make some additions to the park,” Goldsberry told council members during the regular council meeting held May 10.

“The EDC is allowed to do public improvements to parks and we want to get something nice out there.”

City Manager Jim Dunaway added, “We were hoping to get this done in time for Juneteenth, but because of state law, we won’t be able to do it that quick.”

State law requires a Type B sales tax corporation to allow the public 60 days, from May 16, to sign a petition opposing the expenditure of EDC funds for these types of projects.

“To my knowledge, we’ve not received any opposition at this time,” Goldsberry said last week. REDCO will hold a special board meeting July 11, to review any comments shared by community members.

“I think it’s a great deal,” Councilman Walter Session said during the May 10 meeting. “Kids use that park every day.”

Conley Park is in Session’s district.

Councilman Jan Pate expressed concern on the cost of the proposed project.

“Where’s the money coming from,” Pate wanted to know. “I’d feel more comfortable after we learn more.”

The May 10 meeting was the first Pate and Councilmen Ken Ferrara and Martin Holsome attended as newly elected council members.

Dunaway and Goldsberry said they felt confident the proposed budget change of $12,000 should cover the project in its entirety.

“That should more than cover what we want to do,” Dunaway told the Council. “But if it’s not we can use money from the city’s parks and recreation fund to make up the difference.”

Ferrara asked about upgrades to the basketball courts at Conley Park and at the municipal swimming pool.

“They’re just not up to standard,” he said. “They’re just terrible.”

Dunaway said basketball goals and backboards had already been ordered by city officials and would be installed as soon as possible once they were received.