Tuscaloosa Mayor asks municipalities to consider new way to fund PARA

Updated: May. 28, 2021 at 6:31 PM CDT
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TUSCALOOSA CO., Ala. (WBRC) - During a presentation Thursday, Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox asked Northport City Councilors to think about the role parks and recreation can play in helping their communities

He also asked if they’re willing to fund the Tuscaloosa County Park and Recreation Authority differently than they are now.

“If PARA’s goal is to survive year-to-year we will never have a first-class parks system. But if PARA is given the resources, just not for the city of Tuscaloosa, but for everyone, we can be successful,” Mayor Maddox explained Friday.

Maddox wanted them to consider his proposal to fund the Tuscaloosa County Park and Recreation Authority in coming years.

“We put another $4 million a year into PARA for county-wide services. We’re doing nearly $40 per citizen. We think there should be a per citizen rate for every county resident and City of Tuscaloosa resident, that allows it to increase consumer price index,” Mayor detailed.

Recently, the Northport city council got the results from a feasibility study that looked at the costs of building a water park and or sports complex.

Northport Councilwoman Christy Bobo believes good parks could boost the city’s economy and spur growth.

“I loved being able to hear Mayor Maddox case and talk to us and present this dialogue with us because that was the first time we all were able to hear it and kind of absorb it and think about it,” Bobo added.

“PARA for 50 years has been a metro-mold, but not with full metro buy-in, especially in terms of funding, that can no longer be the case,” Maddox went on to say.

The mayor is scheduled to meet with members of the Tuscaloosa County Commission two weeks from now to talk about PARA funding issues.

He went on to say that PARA is also working on another funding proposal for community leaders to consider.

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