Signaling completion of the $4.5 million renovation of two parks on Statesboro’s west side, city and county officials cut a ribbon last Friday under the towering roof of the new three-court basketball pavilion in the Rev. W.D. Kent Park on West Grady Street.
Unlike the upgraded Luetta Moore Park, which reopened July 31 sporting a seasonally available splash pad, pool and bathhouse among its other new attractions, Kent Park has no water features. But on the other hand, the basketball pavilion at the park on Grady Street is unlike anything at the Moore Park on Martin Luther King Jr. Drive and will be open year-round. Friday during the ceremony, the air over the pavilion’s shaded playing surface was noticeably cooler than the sunshine on the park’s newly paved parking lot.
In addition to the pavilion, the Rev. W.D. Kent Park now features a curvy and colorful multi-age playground, three family picnic pavilions with grills, an open basketball half-court and a walking trail. It has more lighting, new security cameras and renovated restrooms.
Family picnic pavilions and a multi-age playground were also among the additions to Luetta Moore Park. The Statesboro-Bulloch Parks & Recreation Department, which is funded by the county, continues to manage both parks, which are on city-owned land.
To finance the renovations, Statesboro’s city government borrowed $4.5 million in March from Truist Bank at a 1.47% annual interest rate on a 10-year bond, issued through a newly created Urban Redevelopment Agency.
The city earmarked $1.1 million over five years from its share of Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax revenue, and the Bulloch County commissioners also committed $1 million from the county’s share of SPLOST. But the city will need further SPLOST funding, to be proposed to voters as part of a future referendum, or other revenue to completely repay the loan.
Lavender & Associates was general contractor, working from designs by Wood Environment and Infrastructure Solutions.
One thing not completed yet at Kent Park is an underground fiber-optic cable to make the publicly available WiFi service and the data link for the electronic security system permanent. That will require an agreement with a railroad company for a horizontal boring under the railroad tracks.
For now, contracted provider Bulloch Solutions has trailers with telescoping antennas set up at the park and a location east of the tracks, beaming a signal across. That way, temporary service, including video monitoring by the Police Department, is enabled at some added expense to the city until the agreement is obtained, City Manager Charles Penny recently informed the mayor and council.