A picnic Monday at War Hill Park showed appreciation to those who have worked to improve the campground, which is set to open today.
“Everyone here has had a piece of making this [park improvements] a reality,” said Lisa Henson, director of Dawson County Parks and Recreation. “Every one of you has done an amazing job and has something to be proud of.”
According to James Tolbert, county facilities director, more than 1,400 hours of inmate labor went into the campground’s face-lift.
“They have been out here working since January,” Tolbert said. “We were glad to do it and glad to save the county money.”
The county received an $80,000 federal grant from the state Department of Natural Resources through the Land and Conservation Fund, which helps communities acquire land, develop parks and renovate existing properties.
Shortly before renovation began in January the county entered into a 25-year lease with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
The project cost about $160,000, half of which came from federal funds and the rest from the county.
“Today’s festivities mark the completion of the first part of phase 1,” Henson said.
“We have improved the campsites by adding new picnic tables, grills, lantern hooks and fire pits.”
Along with the amenities, each campsite is marked by new timber frames and gravel.
“Today’s picnic was to show appreciation for the man hours done in house to finish this part of the project,” Henson added.
It was also an opportunity for the some 20 to 25 attendees to see the improvements before the park opens to the public.
The three-phase plan to improve War Hill Park was developed last year.
First up is updating the existing facilities.
Projects included refurbishing the 14 existing campsites and picnic areas. Plans also call for rebuilding the park’s fishing pier, one of the only handicap-accessible piers on the lake, improving the beach, renovating the bath house and replacing guardrails.
The second phase will add a pavilion and playground, while the third phase will incorporate nature trails, more campsites, pavilions and a canoe/kayak put in.
E-mail Elizabeth Hamilton at email@example.com.