Work on park will begin soon

Talk of changing a vacant Evans field into an Evans Town Center Park will soon be revived as bond money becomes available for the popular recreation and event site.

 

"We're looking initially to go ahead and work on a master plan and get some public input,'' Columbia County Commission Chairman Ron Cross said.

The undeveloped field behind the Evans Kroger off Washington Road, which the county purchased from Doctors Hospital for $4 million, is an area where dog trainers often meet and children fly kites.

A total of $4.8 million to reimburse the county for the park and improvements there was included in a $43-million-plus bond issue voters approved in November. County commissioners are now awaiting the bond funds and plan to begin the projects Feb. 14.

It was more than a year ago that county officials publicly unveiled a plan for the 17-acre field and asked residents to fill out a survey about what they wanted for the park. Since then, a drawing has been presented to the public, but nothing else has occurred.

The original drawing called for a lawn area, which would be large enough to have a championship-size soccer field, and two secondary lawn areas, all bordered and separated by trees.

A 100-by-600-foot mall area bordered by trees also was included between two of the lawns, as was a fountain at the center of the mall and a playground nearby. The plan also included a plaza, restrooms, bike and walking paths, a multipurpose pavilion, and parking on the perimeter.

For now, Mr. Cross said, electrical service will be improved at the field and a portable restroom that has been at the new Evans library site will be moved to the field.

"So that work will go on rather soon, and then we'll start looking at the overall plan of do we want to pursue what we had before as a concept or do we want to make changes to it,'' he said.

Mr. Cross said a committee made up of county staff members and citizens will probably be created in the next four to six weeks to examine possible plans.

Reach Preston Sparks at (706) 868-1222, ext. 115, or preston.sparks@augustachronicle.com.