The Dawson County Board of Commissioners gave full support to a 1-mile walking trail proposed for Veterans Memorial Park during last week’s meeting.
In a 4-0 vote, the board approved the multi-use asphalt trail, which is expected to be complete by March.
The $139,000 impact fee-funded project includes 10 exercise stations along the trail, a new toddler playground and security lighting.
Parks and Recreation Director Lisa Henson said the improvements are 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.
Commissioner James Swafford said he would love to see the improvements to the county’s original public park, located on Hwy. 9 North, although he urged caution in spending as the project moves forward.
“I think this is a wise idea to help improve that park up there and put it back to where it was at one time,” Swafford said. “If nothing else, get our track in. Then if the playground, lighting and stations don’t make the cut, then at least we’ll have the track.”
According to Henson, the county has nearly $140,000 in park and recreation allocated impact fees.
Future maintenance and operational costs could be “minimal and easily absorbed within the current operating budget,” she said, adding the county’s public works department would handle the construction using existing equipment.
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.”