A ribbon cutting Friday marked the opening of the first phase of Gill Park near Fleming.
Located on Freedman Grove Road at Beasleyville Road, the park is named for lifelong residents Joseph Fillmore Gill Sr., and Bedie Haymans Gill.
Liberty County commissioners, Recreation Department Board members and employees as well as members of the Florencie Bacon and Gill families, who helped secure the eight acre site, attended.
The first phase includes a playground and pavilion for gatherings.
LCRD Director Jimmy Martin said it took 20 years to find the right location.
“There were several times that we thought a place was locked down, but for various reasons it slipped away,” he said as he thanked the Gill family. “I think those were good things because ultimately it came to this site, and it turned into a great site for a park.”
“Nothing was more thrilling than to drive by this park and see children already playing in the playground part,” commission Chairman Donald Lovette said. “That gives you the confirmation that you are doing the right thing.
He said the park will help improve the quality of life for area residents, and shows the county and commission are vested in the whole county, not just Hinesville.
LCRD Board member Charlene Godley said the location holds a lot of childhood memories. She said she grew up at the end of Beasleyville Road and is excited to finally have a park in the area.
“And now to ride by here and see the little children playing in the playground and to be able to bring my own two little grandchildren here …and to have a play to have family reunions …and a community spot …so many benefits of having this park here.”
Godley said she plans to see that the entire project gets completed.
Phase two will include a baseball field, basketball court, walking trail and pond.
County Administrator Joey Brown said the land cost $51,346 and phase one work cost $500,000, which was paid from special purchase local option sales tax 5, which has expired.
He said the final phase is estimated to cost $750,000.
“The (recreation) department has an allocation of approximately $2.5 million for parks and other capital needs in SPLOST 6,” Brown said, adding that the county has identified $3,262,783 in projects through 2023.