CAIRO — The Grady County Recreation Department is prepared to offer refunds for the more than 600 individuals who signed up to participate in spring sports this year, but there’s still hope that some kind of program can take place.

Recreation department director Becky Bracewell said a plan is in place to discontinue spring sports in 2020 and begin planning for the fall sports season if Gov. Brian Kemp does not ease social distancing guidelines and increase the number of participants allowed in public spaces by the end of this month.

Refunds will be offered to all paying participants in the 2020 spring sports program.

“We’re not just going to take people’s money and not offer them a program,” Bracewell said. “We want to do the right thing.”

An opportunity to accept a credit voucher to use for other seasonal sports may be offered in lieu of the refund. The logistics of the credit voucher concept are still in the works.

It’s been a “rollercoaster of emotions” since Barber Park closed March 14 due to the coronavirus pandemic, Bracewell said, and the department’s 2020 motto of “Our Vision is Clear” has been put to the test.

“We don’t know what the future of the community is for our kids,” she said. “We don’t know what we’re going to be able to do.”

Bracewell expressed disappointment on behalf of children who may not be able to play this spring, and she said she feels especially bad for kids who have “maxed out” in theirs years of eligibility to participate in sports in the Georgia Recreation and Park Association.

“It’s almost like being a senior and not being able to graduate,” she said.

Bracewell’s announcement came Tuesday during a meeting of the Grady County Board of Commissioners.

With Barber Park closed for the time being, the recreation department has been able to complete each of the projects on its list of two-year projected goals. Improvements included new shading tarps at baseball and softball fields with a new awning around the baseball tower, the construction of new restroom facilities and the renovation of old restroom facilities, a remodeled concession stand and softball tower, a new centralized air conditioning system for the concession stand and football equipment areas, new tops for dugouts, new playground equipment and a new playground area, a re-striped parking lot, a resurfaced tennis court and the construction of two new pickleball courts, which will be coupled with the introduction of a pickleball program.

All of the improvements were funded entirely by private donations. Bracewell said no taxpayer money was used for any of the projects.

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