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Park may get walking trail

Impact fees could fund project

POSTED: September 30, 2009 4:00 a.m.

A new walking trail at Veterans Memorial Park could be finished by March if the county commission approves the project Thursday.

  

Lisa Henson, director of parks and recreation, gave a presentation outlining the proposed improvements to the park on Hwy. 9 during last week’s commission meeting.

  

The $139,000 project would include a 1-mile multi-use asphalt trail with 10 exercise stations, a new toddler playground and security lighting.

  

Henson said the park system has about $140,000 in impact fees to pay for the project, which is the first step in the county’s master plan for the park. There are currently ball fields, a track and a community pool at the park.

  

“The number of walkers and visitors that we are getting at Veterans Park now is growing more every day, not to mention the fact that this new trail will encourage even more people to use the park for exercise,” Henson said.

  

Margie Weaver, director of the nearby Dawson County Senior Center, said the proposed exercise stations along the trail would be wonderful for seniors.

  

“So many are being active now, they are looking at their health and walking,” she said, adding the senior center has a weekly walking group.

  

Rachelle Thurmond, coordinator for the center, said the seniors are excited about the proposed park improvements.

  

“Play is beneficial at every stage of life, but it’s especially important later in adulthood when staying active is vital to living longer and healthier,” she said. “They think it would be wonderful to have some outdoor activities available to get them outside and in the fresh air.”

  

The county’s public works department would handle the construction using existing equipment, according to Henson.

  

In addition, future maintenance and operational costs could be “minimal and easily absorbed within the current operating budget,” she said.

  

If approved, construction could begin as soon as November and ready for the first walkers in March.

  

“It’s something we’ve been needing and wanting for the last couple of years,” Thurmond said.

 

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