DOBSON — While many could see it as simply a way for dignitaries to get together and ceremoniously throw a shovelful of dirt in the air, officials with the town of Dobson say Monday’s groundbreaking for Dobson Square Park trumpets an entirely new chapter in the town’s history.
The groundbreaking is set for 10 a.m., at the park site located at the intersection of South Crutchfield and West Atkins streets.
The 2.5-acre park is planned for the intersection of South Crutchfield and West Atkins streets. It will house two picnic shelters, one of which will double as the site of the town’s farmer’s market, an ampitheater, an interactive fountain, splash pad, playground and walking trails.
It is being constructed by Mount Airy-based Simcon Company, who secured the contract for the $1,324,500 park.
Dobson has secured a grant worth $498,000 from the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ Parks and Recreation Trust Fund, which is expected to cover about half the construction costs for the park.
Smith said it is time for the town to invest in recreational opportunities for its residents.
“For years and years, from a general fund perspective, Dobson has spent money on things like street maintenance, fire and police and garbage pickup,” said Town Manager Josh Smith. “We’ve never had, or taken, the opportunity to put money into recreation.”
But recreational opportunities, Smith said, are also a quality of life issue for residents.
“It has so many benefits for a town,” he said.
Monday’s groundbreaking ceremony is open to the public and will feature remarks by elected officials, a cake painted with an artists’ rendering of the park and the ceremonial first shovelful of dirt moved.
“It’s all ceremonial,” Smith conceded, “but there will be an opportunity for any town staff or elected officials to speak, the contractor and park architect will be on hand and we’re hoping we can get town residents to come out and support the park.”
Smith called the groundbreaking an “historic moment for Dobson.”
“We envision this park as a place for families and communities,” he said. “We want to do things like show movies there during the summer months. There are all kinds of things we can do.
“This is going to be great,” Smith added. “It’s going to be so much more than a playground. This park will be a platform where we can host a multitude of community events going forward.”
Construction is set to get underway immediately following the groundbreaking ceremony, and Smith said he hopes to have the park completed by the end of the year.
Keith Strange can be reached at 336-415-4698 or via Twitter @strangereporter.