McDuffie County officials are hoping that 2004 will be a good year for residents who like to stay active.
The county is looking to start construction on a gymnasium at Sweetwater Park hopefully by the end of this year, and County Commission Chairman Charlie Newton said that an effort to renovate the Dearing Gymnasium should pay dividends sometime this year as well.
"We'd like to get the Dearing Gym done this year. We are in need for the gym space. The folks in Dearing asked me about it, and we looked at what can be done," he said. "We want to stop the bats from getting inside that can cause health problems; we need to put handicapped-accessible bathrooms in so handicapped folks can go in there; we need to put in a handicap ramp, some rewiring needs to be done, and the roof needs to be fixed."
Mr. Newton also said that the county needs to arrange further specifics regarding the building, ensuring that the building will meet the proper fire safety specifications as well as other requirements.
Also on the table will be the joint city/county complex, for which $1.6 million was set aside in the current Special Local Option Sales Tax collection for a site study and land acquisition for the facility.
"We need to get that ball rolling," said Mr. Newton. "We need to get our ducks in a row so when we get the money we'll be able to get started on that."
County officials have discussed using the next round of sales tax dollars in 2008 to build the facility.
The county is also looking at getting underway two of its large USDA-funded grant and loan projects.
One, an $8.8 million Water District 1 project, still needs around 400 new municipal water customers in the Dearing and Boneville areas to go forward.
The other is around a $7.2 million sewer project targeted for Stagecoach Road, Highway 150, the Belle Meade subdivision, and Dallas Drive.
"That'll start sometime this year," said Mr. Newton of the USDA sewer project. "We had hoped to have it completed in February of 2005, but we'll probably push that back a few months to April of 2005."