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FRIDAY, AUGUST 11, 2006
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EDITORIAL

Good news from Point Mallard Park welcomed

Hearing the city's parks and recreation director talking about adding to Point Mallard Park instead of leasing facilities to private operators is good news for Decatur residents.

The J. Gilmer Blackburn Aquatic Center is having a good year, in part because of the long, hot and dry summer.

Despite attendance being cyclical, Director Jeff Dunlap told the Point Mallard advisory board this week of plans for another water slide, maybe a splash pool, more picnic tables and floating docks where boats may tie up. That suggests a major turnaround in city thinking.

Also, briefing the advisory board on possible future plans is indication of better communications from City Hall, and a willingness to have citizen participation.

The park and the Blackburn aquatic center are among the city's greatest assets. Continuing to improve operations and keeping the attractions current are essential to continued success.

Mr. Dunlap said getting boat docks into the park is both expensive and involves inter-governmental bureaucracy. The need for docks could reopen earlier discussion on former Mayor Blackburn's proposal for a public marina that would compliment a private development on non-park land.

The city is yet to give his ambitious proposal an adequate hearing. The former mayor for whom the aquatic center is named may be the best person to negotiate with the Corps of Engineers and the Tennessee Valley Authority for such a project.

His plan obviously is more extensive than what Mr. Dunlap has in mind, but the city should hear Mr. Blackburn out. He is a visionary. The city has Point Mallard Park in large measure because of his determination and tenacity.

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