Columbia County officials intend this week to celebrate the start of construction on a new park in Evans and the completion of work at a longtime park in Martinez.
A groundbreaking ceremony will be held at 10 a.m. Tuesday for the Evans Town Center Park on Ronald Reagan Drive, and a ribbon-cutting event for the Augusta Canal Headgates National Heritage Area will be held at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday.
The groundbreaking marks the conclusion of a years-long design process for the park and the beginning of construction.
"Considering it's such a focal point in the hub of the Evans area, the commissioners thought it was more than appropriate to have a groundbreaking for the facilities that will be highly used by citizens," said county Community and Leisure Services Director Barry Smith.
Last month, commissioners awarded a bid of about $3.2 million to Statesboro, Ga.-based Dabbs-Williams General Contractors LLC to build Town Center Park.
Smith said construction should get under way in November, and county officials hope the facility will be ready by September.
During construction, park patrons can use 26 acres across from Evans Town Center Boulevard recently purchased by the commission from Marshall Square developers.
Amenities for Town Center Park will include restrooms, a concession stand, a zero-depth water fountain, a playground, an amphitheater, a dog park and seating carved into the earth.
Wednesday's ribbon-cutting at the Canal Headgates celebrates the recent completion of a second construction phase in that area.
"It's been a long wait on this project, with several rain delays, and people are already using the amenities from this new phase," Smith said.
New features at the park include three picnic shelters, an extended bike path, a parking lot and improved landscaping.
Second-phase projects were paid for with a $500,000 transportation enhancement grant from the state Department of Transportation and $1.2 million in 1-percent sales tax money.
A final construction phase for the park likely will get under way in 2012 and include building concession stands and restrooms.
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