By Erin Jenkins

 

Members of the Savannah community will soon have a new place to play when a new park opens on Bettys Creek Road near U.S. 441.

When finished, the park will include a walking trail, picnic shelter with restrooms, playground and swing set.

“We are excited for this because it is bringing another park to a community and providing a place for kids to play on the playground, and also a safe place to walk for all members of the community,” said Rusty Ellis, director of Jackson County Parks and Recreation Department.

The park will provide a safe place to make the community healthier, said James Buchanan, a lifelong resident of Savannah.

“Community residents were having to go 10 miles down the road for a safe place to walk,” Buchanan said. “People are living longer, and health is now important, so this park and walking track will provide a safe place to do that.”

The hope for the picnic shelter is that it would be a multi-purpose area.

“It will be a great place for community organizations, churches and others to host reunions or birthday parties,” Buchanan said. “We really needed something in this part of the county. A place for kids both young and old.”

The park and all of its amenities are projected to be finished in the next two weeks, weather dependent.

There was a walk-through at the site of the park last week with the Parks and Recreation Department and the contractor for the project to point out what needs to be done before the opening. Final touches include fixing drainage issues, detail grading and minor plumbing issues in the restrooms were addressed during the walk-through.

When the park is completed, there will be a “grand opening ceremony to break in the park,” Ellis said.

The time and date for the ceremony are not yet determined but will be announced with the finishing of the park.

Erin Jenkins is an intern with the Sylva Herald.