Cedartown Recreation seeks to build up friends

Cedartown’s Recreation Director Tommy Dooley talked about the need for a new volunteer group to help promote and raise money for the department and its activities.

Changes have come in the Cedartown Recreation Department in the last months. Improvements have been completed at local ball fields, and more youth than ever are joining teams to play soccer, softball, football and more during the seasons of the year.

Director Tommy Dooley is now seeking even more help from the community to continue the positive trends and was given the blessing to move forward with a concept for a new volunteer organization to take part.

He presented his idea to the Cedartown Commission during their July work session at the start of the month in hopes they would agree it is a feasible and proactive step forward to gather volunteers together in efforts to help with park and field improvements and fundraising.

Dooley said he already has a goal in mind for the organization, looking to use it to help with fundraising efforts on a variety of projects and to develop areas of need in the department like park beautification and security at events when police officers aren’t available.

“We want to bring some community involvement on both sides,” Dooley said. “Show them the recreation department is more than just basketball.”

He also talked about the need for the organization to help with efforts like upgrades and repairs needed for the Peek Park playground, and to allow for year-round fundraising for local sports. He envisions money raised through a volunteer organization to go through the city accounts, and bylaws and board members to be approved by the commission.

“Part of this is not just about raising money, but also help see what programs of interest we might have in the area,” Dooley said.

His goal as well is to get feedback from the organization about what areas of recreation should the department work toward in the future. For instance, should the department pursue organizing a garden club? Or host food drives, and work with local schools on establishing more Little Library locations in local parks.

Those were some of the ideas Dooley brought to the table with the plan, and though Commissioners asked some questions about plans to establish a board and how to work out the details they liked the idea.

Commissioner Dale Tuck compared the concept to the same as that of The Friends of the Cedartown Library, and that bylaws with the same concept and structure were likely already available for review and change to accommodate a future board.

Commissioner Jessica Payton also asked what other cities have tried the concept before. Dooley said that he’d found similar a group established in Roswell, and planned to reach out to learn more about how they formed their volunteer organization.

He added that work on the plan came out of hearing about it through the Georgia Parks and Recreation Association, and he planned to reach out to other area authorities for guidance as well.