As Adairsville Mayor Kenneth Carson put it, Thursday afternoon’s ribbon-cutting ceremony was a “joyous occasion” for the entire community.
The event marked the grand opening of the City’s new Veterans Memorial Park. Carson said the public amenity was originally envisioned by Adairsville Mayor Pro Tem Buddy Bagley several years ago and eventually bloomed into one of the municipal government's most sought-after projects.
“This was a goal of the city council for several years,” said Adairsville City Manager Pam Madison. “We included funding for this in the 2014 SPLOST, so as money accumulated we were able to have the park come to fruition.”
Almost 100 names of veterans and veterans organizations are imprinted on bricks lining the memorial wall. The roughly 14-acre site off 17 Legacy Way also includes a host of additional public amenities.
“We decided to expand to not have only a memorial, but having a splash pad feature, the dog park, two playgrounds, a bike trail, a paved walking trail and a nature trail,” Madison said.
One can also find a volleyball net and a giant checkerboard on the park lawn.
“The original bid was $1.35 million, I think, and we signed a contract for $1.2 million,” Madison said. “We had some cost overruns, so it probably came in at about $1.3 million total, and we offset some of that with sponsorships, as well.”
Among the organizations and companies backing the park, Carson said, include the Adairsville Lions Club, Advance Rehabilitation, Georgia Power, Harbin Clinic, Penfield Property Management, Rindt-McDuff Associates, Shaw Industries, United Community Bank and Vista Metals Corp.
Attendees took refuge under the park pavilions after a downpour started just minutes after Carson concluded his opening remarks. Adairsville Baptist Church representatives were on hand to serve popcorn, while Championship Karate and Kona Ice offered visitors various treats and desserts.
An event commemorating Veteran’s Day at the park is scheduled for 9-11 a.m. on Monday. From there, Madison said she anticipates the new amenity being used for many more activities, ceremonies and celebrations.
“I think we’ll utilize the park as much as possible,” she said. “We’re hoping the community will also utilize it — I think these pavilions would be a great location for people to have birthday parties and family reunions.”
Construction on the project moved quite briskly, with the site work beginning in July and wrapping up earlier this month. Now that the long-awaited development is finally open, Madison said the City is likely to authorize a handful of extra features for Veterans Memorial Park in 2020.
“We’ll probably add some additional amenities next year in the budget cycle,” she said. “Probably some more grills, some more picnic tables to fill out the remainder of the park.”
Many of the attendees at Thursday’s grand opening event were military veterans themselves.
“It really touched my heart that it came to fruition as it did,” Carson commented on the completed project.
Madison also said she expects the new park to be highly-regarded — and highly-utilized — by Adairsville locals and out-of-towners alike.
“I think for the veterans, it’s something that they can just come and look at the memorial, I think it’s very important to them,” she said. “And I think, for the residents, it’s right in the middle of the city. They can bring their kids, and it’s a fabulous amenity.”