By Charlotte J. Nash, Chairman
Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners
Sports writers call the Gwinnett Braves and other baseball players “the boys of summer” for good reason, but as school starts up for another year, Gwinnett County is preparing for lots of other sports as well at our 46 nationally recognized county parks, aquatic centers and historic sites.
In July, I had the honor of officially welcoming a professional lacrosse team, the Georgia Swarm, to their new home in The Arena at Gwinnett Center. Their season will begin in early 2016 following the Gwinnett Gladiators season, which works out well because they play “box lacrosse” on a grass-covered hockey rink.
The Swarm is the first pro lacrosse team in the league to move to the south, but I’m sure they’ll find a supportive fan base here. Gwinnett County youth athletic associations started lacrosse programs back in 2008 with a total of 540 players. By 2014, more than 2,000 boys and girls, ages 7 to 14, were playing on organized teams in the Gwinnett Lacrosse League.
Gwinnett Parks and Recreation partners with more than two dozen youth athletic associations whose volunteers organize teams and schedules for a wide variety of sports, including football, soccer, basketball, cheerleading, lacrosse, and even roller hockey. We even have at least three competitive swim teams based at Dacula, Collins Hill, and Mountain Park parks.
Every year, thousands of youth – and adults, too – come to our parks to play. And we’re proud to provide and maintain outstanding facilities for everyone. To learn more about youth and adult sports leagues, visit www.gwinnettparks.com and look under “sports and tennis.”
Gwinnett’s leaders made a decision long ago to locate parks strategically to serve clusters of schools, instead of building duplicate sports fields at each school and park. That approach has allowed us to provide high-quality facilities to serve the needs of all Gwinnett residents. And by approving the current SPLOST sales tax program, Gwinnett voters have provided the funding that we’re now using to renovate and upgrade our existing facilities.
So the start of a new school year does not mean that students will spend all of their time sitting at desks. We hope that they – and their parents – will also be actively engaged in sports or recreation in our parks. Indeed, Gwinnett County encourages entire families to get involved in living a healthy, active lifestyle.