Columbia County’s biggest playground is about to get even bigger.
County officials held a groundbreaking ceremony Wednesday to celebrate the expansion of the playground at Evans Towne Center Park.
“This whole thing has been a 10-year dream,” county commission Chairman Ron Cross said. “This is a gem.”
Plans are to expand the playground facilities located on the west side of the park near the Evans Surgery Center. The additional playground equipment will double the size of the existing playground farther north toward Ronald Reagan Drive.
Cross said playground equipment is anticipated to arrive around June 1.
When the expansion is complete, both areas of the playground will be fenced in together and also will include more benches, trash receptacles and other playground amenities. It will include a climbing wall and more “umbrella features” for children to climb on.
The project will cost nearly $320,000, including about $50,000 assigned to the project when Cross abandoned the search for a large digital display screen for the park. The park expansion was approved by voters as part of the one-cent sales tax list.
Columbia County Cham-ber of Commerce President and CEO Tammy Shepherd said facilities like the park and playground add to the quality of life for residents and visitors.
“We have so much to offer,” she said.
The park expansion is expected to be complete by the fall.
For Cross, the park itself was a vision he saw come true.
“The success of the playground part, the water feature, the wide open space and also Lady Antebellum Pavilion, has been overwhelming,” Cross said. “I thought it would be good. I really thought it would be a success. I had no idea how many people would come to utilize this facility.”
The playground expansion has just begun, but Cross is already looking forward to other improvements like expanding the water feature. He’d also like to see more parks like the Evans facility all around the county.
“It’s just very widely used and really has been a blessing to the county,” Cross said, “and something we want to copy around the county in other parts minus the amphitheater.”