Guests visiting Memorial Garden behind the Columbia County Library will have three new features to enjoy once the weather turns warmer.
A crew with Amar Construction recently started work on a $211,000 project that will include a new playground, pavilion and splash-pad water feature, said Barry Smith, the division director of the county's Community and Leisure Services department.
The current playground is targeted for children ages 2 to 5, and the new playground will be designed for children ages 5 to 12, Smith said. Once completed, he said, the multicomponent playground will feature a slide, swings, jungle gym and climbing wall.
"(The) playground will be built kind of tucked up in the woods, so it's going to be in the shady area, which is nice," Smith said. "This'll be for the older children, and it's going to be a larger playground than the current one in the Memorial Gardens."
A 20-by-40-foot pavilion will be constructed between the new and current playgrounds. It will be built in a similar style as the concession and bathroom areas in the Memorial Gardens.
"There's a lot of school field trips that come to the Memorial Gardens, and this'll give them a place to eat lunch, have story time and also offer shade for parents," he said.
In addition, the project will feature a zero-depth fountain measuring 30 feet in diameter, Smith said.
"We're also building a splash-pad, a zero-depth water feature, where water shoots out of the ground and children can play around it," he said. "It'll be a welcomed addition. They're real popular, and I think the children will really enjoy it."
Smith said a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the additions is scheduled for March 20 in conjunction with the start of the library's Book Alive program.
The project will be funded with money from two sources. The Augusta Metro Youth Foundation gave a donation of $81,000. The remaining $130,000 came from the recreation discretionary funds administered by Commissioners Trey Allen and Ron Thigpen and Chairman Ron Cross.
Smith said he believes these three new components to the Memorial Gardens will benefit the area.
"Currently, (the gardens are) well used by the citizens of Columbia County, and these additions will just make it more desirable and better than it is now," he said.
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