Sports complex a welcome asset

As a community grows, the need for recreation sites grows with it, and the available space for such sites diminishes. That’s one of the reasons last Saturday’s dedication of the new Russell County Sports Complex is a landmark moment.

The need for such a facility has been obvious in Russell for a long time, and venues like this, not to mention the property on which to build them, only get more expensive as time passes. That Russell didn’t wait any longer to make this happen is to the county leaders’ and citizens’ lasting credit.

The first phase of the sports complex, which features two new Dixie Youth baseball fields, was funded by Russell County with the help of in-kind services and charitable contributions. The Russell County Commission has applied for a state grant to help build Phase II, which will include a football/soccer field, basketball goals and other athletic facilities. State Sen. Ted Little, on hand for the dedication, said the county’s legislative delegation will also apply to Gov. Bob Riley and the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs to help raise the $3 million to complete the complex.

"You never know where a kid's talent may lie," said Seale youth baseball leader Angelo Tarver, "baseball, basketball or other sports. This will be a place where they can develop and grow."

Lawhorne moves on

Historic Columbus Foundation has been a model of managerial continuity, with only four directors in its more than 40 years of existence. The current one, Susan Lawhorne, took over after the long and successful leadership of Virginia Peebles, a hard act to follow. But she has done it well; founding director Janice Biggers called Lawhorne’s tenure "a wonderful bridge to the future."

That bridge is going to be a little shorter, and the future a little closer, than HCF might have wanted: Lawhorne this week announced that as of the end of October, she is leaving the post to spend more time with her family. She won’t be severing ties with the organization, just turning over the leadership to someone else: "I’m still going to be very much involved with Historic Columbus Foundation," she said.

Clason Kyle, another founding member of the organization, said Lawhorne has helped sustain a tradition of "strong, efficient, intelligent preservationists" who have led HCF.

She earns thanks for her contributions to the cause of historic preservation in Columbus, and our hopes that those contributions will indeed continue, if in a different role.

— Dusty Nix, for the editorial board