LAKELAND, Ga. (WALB) – The town of Lakeland, Georgia might best be known for Banks Lake, a national wildlife refuge, but that’s about to change. Lanier County has a few developments coming to its largest city, to try to add some activity to the normally quiet town.
Lanier County is looking to add more foot traffic to Lakeland and its economy with the addition of a new sports complex.
Lakeland is a bedroom community for the city of Valdosta and, primarily Moody Airforce Base. And according to Lanier County Administrator Neil Ginty, the addition of the sports complex is to accommodate all of the new sporting trends.
“We found out lately all the new trends pickleball is big now. We are going to have some basketball courts, soccer, walking trails, so we’re thinking of it more in terms of a sports complex than just baseball,” Ginty says. “Those airmen, they have lots of kids and we want to survive the services to them to keep Moody Airforce people happy.”
Ginty says the sports complex will have basketball courts, soccer and walking trails too.
Phase one of the project will be completed on 10 acres of land. Project developer Keith Kendrick says the first steps begin this week with the process of applying artificial water to land.
“And basically, what we are doing there is a final laser grading, infield clay installs, irrigation and grassing of those fields,” Kendrick said.
Kendrick says the first phase is the most important because it is the foundation of the complex. This week begins the irrigation and grassing of 10 acres of fields.
“Our main concern is the field. To have the field constructed and graded the right way, basically, you can have the nicest facility around, but if the fields are not graded right, it’s not going to be a good complex,” Kendrick said.
Lakeland residents have mixed feelings about the addition of the sports complex, but for the most part, they are happy that it will give people something to do.
“A lot of kids, like especially when they out of school for the summer, they really don’t have anywhere to go. And I think they need to put something here for the whole community,” an anonymous resident told WALB. “Well, really, they need something here for the children, you know our children. The sports complex is a good thing to do.”
“They have all that out there at the high school, deal with that out there, you know what I’m saying?,” Lakeland resident Beatrice Manning said. “And then they got baseball fields over here, so they don’t need it. They gone build it anyways, but they don’t need it. We need something else too, another eatery. You know? Lakeland is a small place. It’s a nice place, it really is a good little town and it’s got some great people, but we need more community stuff.”
“What’s coming now is a miracle and I’m so happy that they’re doing it because it’s going to benefit everyone,” Lakeland resident Sarah Colbert said. “I think it would be great. Everybody needs a change. It would be perfect.”
The sports complex is in the beginning stages with lots of work to do, starting with irrigation and laying of grass. Phase one of the sports complex project is expected to be completed within the next few weeks.