Marietta City Council considers Custer Park expansion
by Nikki Wiley
February 02, 2014 11:23 PM | 1997 views | 0 0 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Marietta City Councilman Anthony Coleman sits outside the Turner Chapel AME Church gymnasium in Custer Park. The City Council on Thursday considered spending between $450,000 and $600,000 to expand the gymnasium at Custer Park, 600 Kenneth Marcus Way. No final decision was made. <br> Staff/Jeff Stanton
Marietta City Councilman Anthony Coleman sits outside the Turner Chapel AME Church gymnasium in Custer Park. The City Council on Thursday considered spending between $450,000 and $600,000 to expand the gymnasium at Custer Park, 600 Kenneth Marcus Way. No final decision was made.
Staff/Jeff Stanton
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MARIETTA — As city officials look for the best way to improve Marietta’s public parks with the $25 million parks bond passed in 2009, Custer Park is getting consideration for an upgrade.

The City Council on Thursday considered spending between $450,000 and $600,000 to expand the gymnasium at Custer Park, 600 Kenneth Marcus Way. No final decision was made.

That money wouldn’t just pay to increase the size of the gym, said Rich Buss, director of parks and recreation for Marietta.

The 15-year-old building needs new flooring, insulation, bleachers, backboards and storage space.

An expansion could bring two high school regulation-sized basketball courts. When basketball games aren’t taking place, three volleyball courts could be available, Buss said.

Programs like indoor soccer could also be conducted in a larger gym.

Councilman Anthony Coleman, who represents the area, envisions a space where the community comes together.

“I believe if you build something nice, people will come,” Coleman said

Custer Park, once part of the Turner Chapel property, was converted in September 2012 with funding from the $25 million parks bond approved by voters in 2009.

The park’s baseball fields were converted into two large fields now used mostly for soccer games. A concession stand and restroom building was built along with a playground.

The park is owned by the city of Marietta but operated by the YMCA, which holds an indoor soccer program and summer day camp at the park.

Child and teen league games are popular at Custer Park, Buss said, and the park is used almost daily.

“We have an opportunity to make the Custer Park gym the primary athletic indoor recreation facility, if that is deemed to be in our best interests by the mayor and City Council,” Buss said.

Other projects to be funded by the parks bond are also underway.

Elizabeth Porter Recreation Center is the largest parks bond project the city plans to undertake, with a budget of $3.75 million. About $1.2 million of that is set aside to purchase adjacent

properties. About $800,000 has already been spent on properties that include a tire repair shop, liquor store and a rental home.

City Council opted last month to delay action on buying two additional properties after the owners complained the city did not offer enough money for their properties.

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