Ron Houck, the deputy director of parks and facilities, said conditions were declining at the park on Ninth Street in the Laney-Walker neighborhood. Significant investment has been made to improve housing in nearby blocks, but Dyess Park has been going in the opposite direction.
The community center is getting a new roof, fresh coat of paint and new windows, Houck said. The front entry plaza is being renovated, and a new fence with brick posts is being built to surround the property.
The park is closed during renovations but should reopen by Jan. 1, Houck said.
The renovations are funded by a $503,000 community development grant administered by the city’s Housing and Community Development department and $297,000 from Phase 6
of the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax. The money is helping replace sidewalks and trees on Eighth, Ninth and D’Antignac streets.
“Dyess Park was a thriving park at one time, and it was a jewel of the area,” Houck said. “Then we were the black sheep of the family and our facility was the sore thumb.”
Pending additional funding, Dyess Park needs at least two more phases of capital improvements, Houck said. Future plans include resurfacing the tennis and basketball courts, replacing the swimming pool with a splash pad, extending the walking track and building a new community center.
Dyess Park was named for the late Lt. Col. James Dyess, an Augusta native who was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for heroism during World War II.