It's no secret that we haven't been happy with Columbia County commissioners' treatment of the Marshall Square project, which boils down to politicians attempting to create the Evans town center of their dreams by using someone else's money and property.
That'll all shake out in court. In the meantime, a real centerpiece for the county promises to shape up across the street from Marshall Square - and we have nothing but praise for the county's handling of that jewel.
The Evans Town Center Park, sometimes called Doctors Hospital field or Kroger field, is 17 acres of former pasture right in the middle of Evans. Once slated for development, the field is now county property destined for use as a major passive recreation park.
With a $4 million purchase price, the land isn't cheap. But it is a remarkable investment in Columbia County's future with hints of our own miniature version of New York's Central Park, or Chicago's Lincoln Park.
In some respects, the expense is making the future park's design better. Commissioners at first outlined overly ambitious plans for the property, but the cost has forced a modest proposal that seems more in line with community requests for minimalist upgrades.
The scaled-down plan calls for entrance improvements and parking lots, along with lots of trees, a walking path, picnic areas, restrooms and a pavilion for performances. The rest is just wide open space.
While there's some sense of urgency in getting bigger trees planted sooner to provide shade on part of the field, a shortage of money is helping to dampen any enthusiasm for major changes.
That's good. The land will still be there when the plans are ready - and thank goodness for that.
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