Back on track: Etowah River Park is one step closer to completion
by Jessicah Peters
August 01, 2014 12:05 AM | 2706 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Georgia Development Partners Vice President of Operations Mark Woods, left, and Councilman Hooky Huffman survey the progress of the sod installment at the site of the Etowah River Park on Wednesday. <br>Staff/C.B. Schmelter
Georgia Development Partners Vice President of Operations Mark Woods, left, and Councilman Hooky Huffman survey the progress of the sod installment at the site of the Etowah River Park on Wednesday.
Staff/C.B. Schmelter
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CANTON — Etowah River Park is one step closer to being completed after several setbacks and delays.

Crews began laying sod over 11 acres of the park this week, but it wasn’t until after the Canton City Council overcame some hurdles.

Councilman Hooky Huffman said the sod has been a crucial problem in finishing the park, due to finding crews willing to do the work and the unavailability of certified sod.

“We had to bend a little and get non-certified sod, but now that I’ve seen it out there, it’s looking good,” Huffman said. “When it’s all laid, we’ll have to wait for the grass to grow. So kids won’t be playing on it this summer.”

Canton Mayor Gene Hobgood said he was disappointed it took so long to acquire the sod, which delayed the project.

“It’s near completion, but we’ve still got some work to do. We just won’t be able to fully open the park up to the public until the spring,” Hobgood said. “When the park does open, it’s going to be a great addition to the city’s recreation.”

Once the sod is completed, the construction company, Georgia Development Partners, will need to lay another layer of surface on the road and parking lot, then begin striping, according to Huffman.

The park sits on the Etowah River in the Canton-Cherokee Business and Industrial Park. It has been in the making since 2008 and is being funded by $3.1 million from the countywide parks bond. The city has also pitched in $709,313, including $291,000 for an amphitheater.

Once completed, the park will feature extensive amenities such as multipurpose fields, a playground, a foot bridge over the Etowah River, the amphitheater and a walking trail system.

“It’s just exciting to see a project, that started about four years ago, come about. It’s the light at the end of the tunnel. It’s going to happen,” Huffman said.

But there’s more to be done before teams are out on the field. The council still needs to decide on who and how the fields will be managed.

“We have to figure out how we’re going to schedule the teams, find coaches or arrange public events,” Huffman said. “There are still management questions we don’t have the answers to right now.”

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