VALDOSTA -- Lowndes County Commissioners will consider sponsoring the Valdosta-Lowndes County Azalea Festival at its regular meeting on Tuesday.

The event, now in its second year, will be held March 15-16. Organizers estimate last year's event drew more than 8,000 participants, and have planned an expanded program this year with a kickoff celebration on Valdosta State's front lawn and concluding with a street dance on Saturday night.

Commissioners are being asked to contribute $5,000 to the project, joining the City of Valdosta and VSU as sponsors.

At their Friday work session, the Commission expressed a desire to see the festival grow in size and rival some other annual gatherings in the region.

The board will also consider a proposal from Lose and Associates to complete a master plan for the construction of the North Lowndes Recreation Center.

The $5,000 project has not been sent out for bid, and District 2 Commissioner Richard Lee expressed concern that bidding the project through an RFP would entail further delays. The project likely does not require a bid process, because the board allows the county manager to enter into contracts of less than $10,000 without approval of the commission.

The project has been in the planning stages for over a year, and funding is in place.

The work session also included reports from Chamber of Commerce President Myrna Ballard on the chamber's progress during 2001, as well from Marvin Lee, director of Public Works, on his department's work during the last quarter of 2001.

The commission meeting will be held Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. in the Lowndes County Administration Building at 325 W. Savannah Ave.

To contact reporter Bill Roberts, please call 244-3400, ext. 245.

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