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Footbridge latest Edgewood Park addition
Paid for with T-SPLOST as a transportation project
Courtesy of City of Statesboro
Black Creek Construction built the 103-foot-long wooden bridge across one end of the pond at Shelby Park, better known as Edgewood Park. Besides completing the trail loop within the park, the bridge has been suggested by city officials as a backdrop for photos during prom season. (Courtesy of City of Statesboro)

Completed about two weeks ago, a wooden footbridge in Statesboro’s “Edgewood” Park was paid for with $74,100 from the Transportation Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax, or T-SPLOST, and ties in with recently built sidewalks outside the park as well as the existing trail inside it.

Statesboro’s city government contracted Black Creek Construction to build the 103-foot-long, eight-foot-wide bridge over a corner of the pond at its spillway. Although conceived along with pedestrian route improvements that included new sidewalks on Herty Drive and South Edgewood Drive, the bridge could not be built by the same contractor that did the concrete work because few contractors build wooden bridges, said city Public Works and Engineering Director John Washington.

But Black Creek Construction, based at Ellabell, specializes in structures such as wooden bridges and docks. The company originally asked $62,500 for handling the bridge design and construction, in a bid approved by City Council in December. The extra $11,600 covered the cost of added concrete walkways connecting to the existing trail around the pond, Washington said. The finished work was still under the original budget of $75,000.

Councilman Phil Boyum, after learning that the bridge was finished, saw it up close for the first time Tuesday when he had lunch at the park with his son. Boyum related the bridge to ongoing sidewalk construction across Statesboro and major renovations underway at two other parks, as well as gradual improvements that began about five years within the “Edgewood” Park, which is officially Shelby Park.

“Ultimately the long-term goal for all of these parks, including the ones we’re redoing over at Luetta Moore and on West Grady, is to connect every park in the city with a network of sidewalks, so that way you can walk on a city sidewalk from one park to the other all the way across town,” he said.

City Council awarded Preferred Site Construction, a local company, the Herty Drive and South Edgewood sidewalk contract on a $153,644 bid last July, with approval for city staff to spend up to $200,000 with the contractor for additional sidewalk work based on the unit prices.



Gradual improvements

Off Gentilly Road not far from its intersection with Fair Road, Shelby Park occupies the block bounded by North Edgewood Drive and South Edgewood Drive and the two halves of Rowand Circle.

Statesboro’s former streets and parks superintendent, Robert Seamans, who retired from that role last summer after 31 years with the city of Statesboro, started making gradual improvements to Shelby Park at least five years ago, Boyum noted. Seamans is now Waynesboro’s city public works superintendent.

“It started with a bench here and table there and a little bit of sidewalk at a time, and slowly over five years now there’s a complete walking trail all the way around the facility, and of course the new bridge, which is a great spot for folks to check out the turtles and ducks or just a great spot for prom pictures or other special pictures,” Boyum  said.

Unlike Luetta Moore Park, the Rev. W.D. Kent Park and Memorial Park, which are operated by the county-funded Statesboro-Bulloch County Parks and Recreation Department on city-owned real estate, Shelby Park is an entirely city-maintained, passive park.

“City staff has done a great job fitting it in, in between other little projects over the years to keep the cost down, and I think after five years of work we’ve got a beautiful park that’s another great asset for the city of Statesboro,” Boyum said.


Other connections

The new South Edgewood sidewalk connects Shelby Park to the longer-built sidewalk on Gentilly Road, which in turn  connects to the S&S Greenway trail and, indirectly, to shopping areas.

Luetta Moore Park, which is on Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, and the Rev. W.D. Kent Park, on West Grady Street, are currently undergoing more rapid and extensive upgrades, initiated by the city with funding by the city and county from the general purpose SPLOST, not to be confused with T-SPLOST. That work, financed on a 10-year, city-backed bond for $4.5 million, is slated for completion this summer.

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