Tons of sand and dirt still remain on-site years after the lake was built.
Tons of sand and dirt still remain on-site years after the lake was built.
Madison County supervisors last week acknowledged an estimated $2.5 million is needed to finish building out the controversial Sulphur Springs Park in the northeastern part of the county. That total includes nearly $1 million for a community health center.

Supervisors met on Thursday in a special-called meeting for a handful of business items, including the cost estimates for the park. 

District 3 Supervisor Gerald Steen and District 4 Supervisor David Bishop were absent from the meeting. 

“Some of the board members had asked for cost estimated costs,” District 5 Supervisor Paul Griffin, the main proponent of the park said, before making a motion to formally acknowledge the figures. 

Included in the cost estimates is: 

• $77,905 for the main road

• $6,135 for the playground road

• $35,600 for the ballfield road

• $35,240 for the playground parking

• $35,900 for the health center road and parking

• $60,700 for ballfield parking

• $76,405 for a 1.3-mile, 10-foot wide walking trail

• $60,000 for a foot bridge

• $135,000 for lights

• $35,000 for erosion control

• $20,000 for disturbed area seeding/straw

• $65,294 for contingencies 

• $35,000 for architectural construction management

• $80,454.88 for architectural design service

• $25,000 for two entry gates

• $65,000 for the playground

• $15,000 for exercise equipment

• $935,000 for a 4,000 square-foot community health center

• $205,000 for an open air pavilion 

• $185,000 for a restroom building

• $15,000 for a trail head

• $10,000 for signs and benches

• $300,000 for two softball fields

The total estimated is $2,573,683.88.

Board President Sheila Jones explained her support for the park by saying she was unable to get support to sell the park earlier this term. 

Jones said the park dates back to 2013, and when the new board came in office in 2016, they called for an appraisal for the park. 

“We did not have the votes to sell a park,” Jones said, saying it was only her and District 2 Supervisor Trey Baxter on board with the action. “When you don’t have votes to sell a park, what do you do?”

Griffin responded, “You complete it.”

Jones said she had received several questions from people about the park, specifically about the estimated costs. 

“We are doing our darndest to make sure some of this money is not coming from county taxpayers,” she said. 

The Madison County Nursing Home Board of Directors authorized $860,000 to go towards the park. 

Jones said another $500,000 had been set aside in years past and a private entity was offering to help out in whatever way to finish the park. 

“When you look at these numbers, know that we are not just using county money to complete the park,” she said. 

Griffin thanked Jones and Baxter for working with him on the park, saying the needs to residents in District 5 is different than in the cities. 

“Madison, Ridgeland, Canton — they have parks,” he said. “The northeastern part of the county doesn’t have that park. I’m just glad to see some members of the board see what really the taxpayers in northeast Madison County see.”

Sulphur Springs Park has been controversial since its inception years ago when it was initially billed as $1.5 million lake park. To date, the county has spent over $2.1 million on the park and all that has been constructed has been a lake with a couple piers.