The new Blanchard Woods Park in Evans should open on schedule for soccer players to get their kicks this September.
The first phase of the 150-acre park is nearly complete, and landscaping crews are currently preparing five soccer fields and a practice area, said Barry Smith, the county's director of community and leisure services.
"The Blanchard Woods construction is going well," he said. "They have already sodded three of the soccer fields, irrigation is in on all the fields (and) they've started to put up fencing around two of the fields."
Smith said the park should be turned over to the county in August. It should be ready for its planned opening before the recreation department's league soccer seasons begin in September, he said.
"Everything is on schedule and we should have employees on site within two to three weeks," he said. The crew leader and three maintenance workers have not yet been hired.
Blanchard Woods will also be the home of Augusta State University cross country. Smith said the course has been cleared, and crews are adding signs throughout the park.
The discovery of about 30 graves on the site in the spring altered some plans for the park. The graves were located near a planned second practice area.
County commissioners decided to leave the graves untouched, and the second practice area was not built.
The graves hold the remains of former members of the Mount Enon Baptist Church of Evans, officials have said. Smith said the graves will remain accessible for family members to visit.
"The graves will remain in place and will be fenced with a marker designating the deceased as family and members of the Mount Enon Church," Smith said. "The grave fencing will be installed within the next six to seven weeks."
The county intended to fill in the area of the grave sites with 20 feet of dirt until a contractor was notified by a prior landowner of their existence.
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