Dalton City Administrator Ty Ross would like to see affluent families get even more involved in Dalton State athletics, he told the Monday’s meeting of the Kiwanis Club of Dalton. Mr. Ross noted that Roadrunner sports skipped a generation. While his father had the opportunity growing up to cheer on the Roadrunners he did not because the athletic programs were shuttered.
“Fortunately the Roadrunners are back,” said Mr. Ross. “My father regularly takes his grandchildren to Dalton State games.”
Mr. Ross, a college sports fan and former letterman at the University of Georgia, brought a basketball that his son received at the Tony Ingle Basketball Camp.
“Support of Dalton State athletics needs to be one of our top priorities,” Mr. Ross told the luncheon meeting at Northwest Georgia Trade and Convention Center. “We need to provide our kids opportunities that I didn’t have growing up.”
He showed the group an aerial photo of the new soccer/football field at Lakeshore Park. The facility should one day be home to Dalton State soccer. The DS logo is already placed at mid field on the regulation size artificial turf field. Stands are in place, but would likely be in need of expansion when the day comes.
Lakeshore is also the home of Roadrunner tennis and a cross country course is planned with a start and finish at the park. Mr. Ross pointed out that the trade center is the home of Dalton State basketball. Home games and some practice sessions are there. In addition, the basketball offices are located across the hall from the arena entrance.
Mr. Ross suggested that affluent individuals should look into endowments for athletic scholarships as well as helping with funding the construction of additional athletic facilities as the need arises.
Mr. Ross said the city has made a lot of progress during Dick Lowrey’s 20 years of service on Dalton’s city council. Mr. Lowrey chose not to run for re-election this year.
The railroad freight depot in downtown Dalton was a deteriorating eye sore that has been “brought back” with the help of state and local funding.
The Dalton Public Schools central office has been moved into city hall. The school central had been located in a building that was once the post office on Hamilton Street. That building has been updated and now houses the Carpet and Rug Institute and the Greater Dalton Chamber of Commerce. “It is now the headquarters for regional economic development,” said Mr. Ross.
James Brown Park has been updated with new ball fields. The Mack Gaston Community Center attracts over 75,000 people a year, he said. “And that’s just the people who register.”
The city has new play areas throughout. That includes the water feature at Mack Gaston. Plans are in the works for a “world class” park at Dalton Green.
Dalton’s municipal is an economic engine that has attracted many corporate jets. The airport had been hurt by a line of trees at the end of the runway. As a result, the FAA had made the city turn-off the airport’s instrument landing system. Mr. Ross said the problems have been resolved and the system should be back on by the end of the year.
The site of the old Lee Printing Building on North Hamilton has been acquired by the city. They hope to “repurpose the site” into a new downtown commercial center. Most of the building has been vacant for a number of years.