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Hall County Parks agency honored as Georgias best
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Power wheelchair soccer. Golf. Youth athletics.

These are just some of the programs Hall County Parks & Leisure Services has to offer.

On Wednesday, the department was honored during a banquet as the Georgia Recreation & Park Association Agency of the Year.

"We’ve worked hard," director Debbie Mockus said. "We work hard for the community."

Recognized by peers, Hall County’s recreation department was singled out for achievement in providing wholesome and constructive leisure opportunities through parks and recreation programs and facilities for the community.

Mockus said the recognition shows they have staff that are committed not only to their profession, but to delivering quality services to Hall County residents.

"I do feel (the award) is a feather in our cap that we are contributing to the quality of life of our citizens through the services we do plan and organize," she said.

This is the first time the department has received the award.

So what makes Hall County Parks & Leisure Services different?

"We offer things that other departments don’t offer," Program Coordinator Sandi Godfrey said.

Special events include the Lanier Arts Festival, soccer golf, motorcycle swap meets and mounted shooter

Hall County Parks & Leisure Services maintains and operates 18 public parks.

The department’s staff offers programs and services at the least possible burden to taxpayers, with almost 63 percent of its budget provided through revenues, grants, community donations and in-kind services.

Last year the department increased its acreage by 64 percent, its staff by 23 percent and its operating budget by 9 percent.

"We’re just growing," Godfrey said. "Each year we keep gaining land and green space."

The newly completed 38,000-square-foot East Hall Community Center is evidence of that growth.

"We’re just expecting that facility to take off," Mockus said.

She hopes the department will be able to build a South Hall community center in the near future, modeled after the one in East Hall.

Also in the works is the county’s Field of Dreams project, a handicapped accessible sports complex to be built at Alberta Banks Park.

The project is in the design phase and construction likely will start by the end of this year or early next year.

More than anything, Godfrey said the department wants to improve quality of life for Hall County residents.

"When you have a good quality of life, everything else seems to fall into place," she said.