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Statesboro and Bulloch County to break ground on two park upgrades Tuesday
Luetta Moore Park Concept 2021.jpg
Central features of the Luetta Moore Park renovation plan are shown in this diagram by Wood Environment & Infrastructure Solutions. Statesboro’s city officials and some Bulloch County officials, together, will host a groundbreaking ceremony Tuesday afternoon for nearly $4.5 million worth of improvements to Luetta Moore Park and Rev. W.D. Kent Park.

Statesboro’s city officials and some Bulloch County officials, together, will host a groundbreaking ceremony Tuesday afternoon for nearly $4.5 million worth of improvements to Luetta Moore Park and Rev. W.D. Kent Park.

The speaking portion of the event is set for 3 p.m. at Luetta Moore Park, 585 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive. But after turning some earth at the Luetta Moore  Park, officials plan to drive to the Rev. Kent Park, located at 1 W. Grady St. and often referred to as simply “Grady Street Park,” to literally break ground there as well.

Although managed by the Statesboro-Bulloch County Parks & Recreation Department, whose operations are funded by the county, these two parks are on city property in what Mayor Jonathan McCollar refers to as Statesboro’s central corridor.

So both McCollar and Chairman Roy Thompson of the Bulloch County Board of Commissioners are slated to speak at Tuesday’s ceremony. After the county funded an initial study of needs of the Statesboro parks by Wood Environment and Infrastructure Solutions, the city paid the same firm to create the detailed designs for the park transformations.

Luetta Moore Park previously consisted of a softball field, a Little League field, a playground, a basketball court and a multipurpose building, called the Jones-Love Cultural Center.

With the improvement project, Luetta Moore Park will retain the Jones-Love Cultural Center, the Zadie Lundy Douglas Little League Field and the basketball court. But the large softball field will be replaced by a “therapeutic” swimming pool, a splash pad and a bath house. Other planned new features include a volleyball court, an Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant, multi-age playground, two family pavilions with grills, improved lighting, security cameras, expanded parking and WiFi access.

The Rev. W.D. Kent Park previously featured six basketball half-courts, a restroom building and little else. When improvements are completed, the park will have a covered basketball pavilion, shown with three full courts in the concept plan, as well as an ADA-compliant multi-age playground, two family picnic pavilions with grills, an outdoor basketball half-court, an accessible walking trail, a drinking fountain, a new parking lot, improved lighting, security cameras and renovated bathrooms.

Work is projected to be completed by early summer 2021 with weather permitting, city Public Information Officer Layne Phillips stated in a news release announcing Tuesday’s ceremony.

The city earmarked $1.1 million over five years from its share of  revenue from the countywide Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax, and the county commissioners have also committed $1 million from the county’s share  of SPLOST  to these  park projects.

But the city will need additional revenue to repay the $4.5 million it is borrowing from Truist Bank at a 1.47% annual interest rate on a 10-year bond, officially issued through Statesboro’s new Urban Redevelopment Agency.

Officials have suggested that the city will pursue the remainder of the revenue as part of a proposal along with the county government, by November 2024, asking voters to extend the 1% SPLOST beyond its current five-year run.

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