Hattiesburg cuts the ribbon on new disc golf course, playground at Thames Primary School

The 1% tax increase that was instituted in 2019 at Hattiesburg restaurants, hotels and motels continues to pay dividends for Department of Parks and Recreation projects throughout the central city, the most recent being a new junior disc golf course and an additional playground at Thames Elementary School on Jamestown Avenue.

A groundbreaking ceremony for the new disc golf course and playground was held May 23 at the back of the school attended by Mayor Toby Barker, other city officials and Guillermo Avalos. , who designed and built the seven-hole course. Avalos is a member of the Hattiesburg Disc Golf Association and the Professional Disc Golf Association, and is a two-time world champion in the sport.

The disc golf project was made possible with the help of architectural firm Hattiesburg Landry Lewis German Architects and www.jumputt.com.

“As an avid disc golf player, this was a project close to my heart,” Avalos said. “With sponsorship from jumputt.com, the LLGA for the design programs, and the City of Hattiesburg for the supply of materials and machinery, I was able to design and install this seven-hole disc golf course, novice and recreational level.

“This course will allow players of all levels to play the sport, as well as providing Thames Elementary with a new sport to teach if they wish.”

Avalos has provided 18 regular and mini discs to get Thames Elementary started on the course and hopefully expand the school’s future in the sport of disc golf. The project was also made possible with the help of Sid Gonsoulin, who is Project Manager for 1% Projects, and Ann Jones, who is Chief Executive Officer for the City of Hattiesburg.

“Disc golf, if you didn’t know, is one of the fastest growing (recreational) sports in the country,” Barker said. “Hattiesburg actually has two other disc golf courses – one at Duncan Lake and one at Tatum Park.

“So adding one in the central part of town is another great regional asset to our community.”

The new play area is located directly next to the new disc golf course, close to the other playing fields at Thames Primary School.

“This project continues to improve the quality of life for the community, as well as for the students who are here today,” said Robert Williams, superintendent of the Hattiesburg Public School District. “Education is something we cannot invest enough in.

“It provides opportunities for students to explore, develop and develop their character through sportsmanship, play and communication.”

The 1% sales tax increase was approved in 2019, after 81% of voters chose to support the measure in a special referendum. Money from this levy was used for 18 Department of Parks and Recreation projects throughout the city, including but not limited to a walking trail extension at Duncan Lake, a wading pool at Dewitt-Sullivan Park and batting cages at Vernon Dahmer Park.

“A lot of times when we think of a penny, we think of something that stays on the ground to be stepped on,” Williams said. “But through these partnerships – whether it’s pickleball, renovations at Ebenzer (Baptist) Church, or the renovation here today – every little bit makes a big difference. We are so grateful to the community for continuing to trust us with their most precious asset and resource, and that is your child.

Rufus T. Sifford