Columbia County Commissioner Jim Whitehead said he has been holding discretionary funds back for years, waiting for a good time to build a small walking park for the county.
Then, he said, County Administrator Steve Szablewski approached commissioners with an idea for a park that would be located just behind the government complex and next to where the new library will be.
"I was just ecstatic," Whitehead said. "It will give the county a beautiful green space that will always be there."
Plans for the small park are in very early stages. Whitehead said commissioners hope to have plans before their next meeting and Szablewski said he there are some preliminary sketches.
Though the park hasn't been officially named, Whitehead said plans for it include several locations that will be dedicated to memorializing citizens of the county.
There are plans to have several trees planted that will be dedicated to individual people or events. The dedications will be made through private donations.
An overlook area is planned that will be paved with bricks that people will be able to purchase and have inscribed with the names loved ones or family members.
Whitehead said it was first thought that the memorials should be limited to the military personnel but said commissioners felt it was important to include law enforcement officers or emergency personnel who may have been killed in the line of duty.
"This way it can be open to anyone who has served this community," Whitehead said.
Along with the various memorial sites, the park will have a lighted walk way, picnic area, sculptures and playground equipment. Whitehead said it will also incorporate a planned library amphitheater that organizers could use to stage events.
"People on this part of the county won't have to go far to have a place to walk or just sit and think," he said.
Another use for the park will be the Memorial Day Celebration that the county puts on every year. The first two celebrations were held at the field behind the Evans Kroger but Whitehead said Doctor's Hospital - the organization that owns the field - is planning to develop it, leaving the event homeless.
The new park, which will be equipped to shoot off fireworks could serve as the new host site.
"It has tremendous possibility," Whitehead said. "It is just perfect do something with because of the green space."
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