City of Franklin leaders commend Parks and Rec

Published 2:18 pm Friday, August 19, 2022

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Franklin Ward 3 Councilman Gregory McLemore recently led an expression of gratitude to the city’s Parks and Recreation Department and its director, Sammara Green-Bailey, for excellence in their provision of services to the citizens of Franklin.

“I can’t find the words to express how happy I am with Ms. Bailey running the Parks and Recreation Department, and I’d like to thank our city manager for bringing Ms. Bailey on board to run that department,” McLemore said during the Franklin City Council’s July 25 meeting, at which Green-Bailey was in attendance.

McLemore said he saw a spark in Green-Bailey from long ago when she was serving in a different capacity, and he suspected that, given the opportunity, she could do great things in the department.

Sharing a recent firsthand experience, McLemore said he called Green-Bailey to ask if the city’s swimming pool on Armory Drive was open, and she informed him that it is open every day at 1 p.m.

“I went there, and I could not have been more impressed,” he said. “One thing, I was there at 1 o’clock; it was open at 1 o’clock, not 1:05. The people were there, in place. The lifeguards were very nice. Everybody was friendly. The place is immaculate, to the degree (that) my only hopes are that the adults will get word of this, and the adults will start to take advantage of such a fine facility that we have in Franklin. 

“I can’t imagine going anywhere in Hampton Roads or anywhere in the country where they have a better pool than we have right here in Franklin,” he added. “I don’t give out accolades loosely, but I was so, so impressed with the staff, with the facilities, and it’s taken some time, but that’s the goal — excellence is the goal, and you are definitely hitting at it. And I personally wanted to thank you publicly so that people will know that you guys got it going on over there.”

He indicated that he was sure this was also true in all of the other initiatives within the department, but he was particularly focusing on the pool in this instance.

McLemore additionally recommended to council that it consider having a council night at the pool in which each council member invites 10 of their friends to go to the pool.

“It would give a chance for adults who haven’t been there, particularly council people who haven’t been there yet, a chance to experience it,” he said. “So I hope you will consider that, and thank you so much for everything you guys are doing.”

His comments prompted a round of applause for Green-Bailey and her staff.

“I think Mr. McLemore about wrapped it up for us, but thank y’all very much for what you’re doing,” Franklin Mayor Frank M. Rabil said. “It is appreciated, and it does not go unnoticed, so thank you very much.”

Franklin City Manager Amanda C. Jarratt expressed gratitude to council members for their investment in the Parks and Recreation Department.

“We’ve been able to add more staff than we’ve ever had in the department, and I’m excited about the projects that are forthcoming, so thank you all for your support of the department, and Ms. Bailey, thank you and your staff for the wonderful job that they do,” Jarratt said. “They have a lot of responsibility. Several of the staff are out coaching soccer games right Armory Field.

“We’ve thankfully taken back the athletic leagues, and they’re being managed under our department, and I’m just really thrilled about where we’re headed, especially with some of the capital investments we’re getting ready to make, so thank you very much,” she added.