A new place for recreational fun in Columbia County is moving closer to reality now that a preliminary master plan has been completed.
The site, which will be called Blanchard Woods Park, had its preliminary master plan submitted by the Augusta firm Johnson, Laschober and Associates within the past month. The nearly $6 million project, mostly funded by the county's special purpose local option sales tax, will be located about 400 yards off Blanchard Road in Evans and offer residents several recreational opportunities, including eight to 10 soccer fields.
Now county officials are planning to ask for the public's input on what they think of the master plan at a 6:30 p.m. meeting Oct. 26 at the Evans Government Complex's Building A.
A second meeting will be held at a date to be determined.
"The park will be built for the citizens of Columbia County, so we're wanting input from the citizenry to show them the master plan and see what they think," said Barry Smith, the division director for the county's Community and Leisure Services Department.
Smith said the park, which will include 120 acres for active recreation and 30 acres for passive recreation on green space, recently had a new road constructed to lead to it from Blanchard Road.
He said that by fall 2005, the park should be open with four soccer fields. By the next spring or summer, four more soccer fields should open.
Smith said the park was constructed mostly for the soccer fields after the issue was brought up by residents in previous tax meetings.
"It's primarily for soccer, but we're trying to do some multi-use (offerings), too,'' he said.
Smith said the soccer fields were needed because of an inadequate number of soccer fields and parking spaces at Patriots Park.
Once Blanchard Woods Park is completed, he said, most recreation league soccer games will take place there.
After the fields are completed at the new park, Smith said several other projects will begin.
The park is set to eventually have a BMX area for mountain bikes, an activities area with a pond, a skate park, a splash park where children will be able to run through fountains of water shooting from the ground, a lighted walking track and a regulation cross-country track.
Smith said the cross country track would be a first for Columbia County.
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