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Fields primed for improvements
Bill Foster has played rugby at Howard Coffin Park since the 1970s, but he hasn't seen a lot of changes in the facility over the years.

A member of the Golden Isles Rugby Football Club, Foster takes to the fields a few times each week.

Shrinking budgets and the lack of an irrigation system during a period of drought has put the fields, or pitches as they are called in rugby, in need of significant repairs.

"There was no grass out here. We had to stop practicing out here because our players were hurting themselves," Foster said.

The city of Brunswick hopes to address that.

With about $200,000 set aside in the fifth installment of the 1 percent Special Local Option Sales Tax for athletic field repairs, the city will begin repairs to the south fields at the park and plans to advertise for bids soon.

The largest field will get the majority of the improvements with sodding, irrigation and fencing. An electronic scoreboard, bleachers and water fountains will also be added to the field, said City Engineer Dan McFee.

The two remaining fields will be graded and seeded. Water fountains also will be installed.

Though Glynn County is now responsible for programming and maintenance at the park under a provision of a Local Option Sales Tax agreement with the city, Brunswick agreed to repair the fields and remains responsible for capitol improvements.

"Under the current service agreement, Glynn County recreation is responsible for all the programs at Howard Coffin Park north of the tidal ditch," said City Engineer Dan McFee.

Years of shrinking budgets caused park maintenance in the city to be put on the back burner, but a master plan was completed about a year ago for the facility, said City Manager Bill Weeks.

It's a multimillion dollar project that will be implemented over time as more funding comes available.

"We can't obviously do it all at once," Weeks said, adding that the master plan may change depending on the needs of the park.

Foster is thankful for the planned improvements to Howard Coffin but still wants to see the master plan that included adding more fields, parking and other general improvements come to fruition.

"In any event, they had a great plan that would've been beneficial to the residents of Brunswick," Foster said.

Glynn County Parks and Recreation Director Wesley Davis says park programming has received a good response since the county took over in January.

County crews have been working to make other improvements to the park, including the playground, north parks and swimming pool. Four scoreboards were recently donated by Coca-Cola.

Interest has also increased in a track program offered previously by Brunswick, but not by Glynn County, which has doubled in size, Davis said.

* Reporter Nikki Wiley writes about government, business and other local topics. Contact her at, on Facebook or at 265-8320, ext. 321.

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