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Memorial Drive gets a makeover
Showcase also shows other projects
LCPC Chairman Don Hartley watches as Matthew Barrow, PC Simonton & Associates project manager, adjusts the sculpture of The Resonance on Tuesday in the Board of Education lobby. Once funds are available, the sculpture will sit in the traffic circle on Memorial Drive. - photo by Photo by Seraine Page

Parts of Hinesville have come a long way in the beauty department.
During a Tuesday night reception, jazzy piano numbers and chatter filled the air as community members and city and county officials celebrated the community’s progress. 
“First and foremost, ‘A New Memorial Showcase,’ is a celebration of the completion of the Memorial Drive realignment project,” said Vicki Davis, director of Hinesville Downtown Development Authority. “Although the main portions of the project have been complete for some time, the project in its entirety was just completed this fall.”
About 30 attendees gathered in the lobby of the Liberty County Board of Education building where they were greeted by a sculpture of “The Resonance,” an open, globe-like bronze sphere that will eventually sit in the center of the traffic circle on Memorial Drive.
The showcase also featured several other for the traffic circle, originally submitted by Savannah College of Art and Design students for consideration. Each model provided the name of the artist and a brief description of why the artist felt their sculpture tied into the history, culture and architecture of the Hinesville community.
Matthew Barrow, of PC Simonton & Associates, was the project manager for the Memorial Drive realignment and coordinated the sculpture contest with SCAD.
Barrow said the centerpiece will be added to the traffic circle when the budget allows.
“It is a joint effort between the city and downtown area,” Barrow said.
“I don’t try to take the credit,” he said of the project. “I’m just trying to do my job. I do my best to provide a good public service to our community.”
Mayor Jim Thomas said he hopes local businesses will buy the other sculptures to place around the city as part of future renovations.
“What you see here today are dreams. And some of these dreams have come true and we want the rest of these dreams to come true,” said Thomas. “Memorial Drive right now is our signature project.” 
Thomas said the artwork displayed at the showcase shows the diversity of the community, a factor that has been important to city and county officials, architects and engineers throughout the update and beautification process.
“We have art here that really personifies Hinesville,” the mayor said. “It [Hinesville] is a place that people of all backgrounds can get together and be progressive.”
City Manager Billy Edwards, Garrison Commander Col. Kevin Milton and County Commissioner John McIver also spoke to the crowd about the success of the project.
“How we got here is having a vision,” Edwards said. “It’s been an interesting journey and it’s not over yet.”
Davis said the authority’s downtown district runs from General Stewart Way, Oglethorpe Highway, Gen. Screven Way and includes Fort Stewart. Because the district is so expansive, Davis said the projects will continue into the future, especially because of the amount of support the projects have received.
“As we celebrate the progress made thus far, our vision for the Hinesville’s Downtown District is far from over, as true revitalization requires a comprehensive, incremental and on-going process,” Davis said. “It is important to have quality development, both new construction and quality rehabilitation projects for future generations, to conserve environmentally, and for the overall quality of Hinesville.”

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