MIDDLEBURG – The long-overdue Omega Park improvement project has finally broken ground and in mid-August, construction crews will begin the facelift that the popular Middleburg park has needed for …
MIDDLEBURG – The long-overdue Omega Park improvement project has finally broken ground and in mid-August, construction crews will begin the facelift that the popular Middleburg park has needed for years.
On July 26, Middleburg Association of Athletics members and their president, county commissioners, parents and children, gathered near Omega Park’s small and aging concession stand to celebrate the official groundbreaking of the park’s upcoming $470,000 renovation project. Ironically, one of the biggest improvements coming to the park will be this concession stand that, despite its best efforts over the past years, is no longer getting the job done. When this project is complete, a new concession stand will sit in its place with upgrades air conditioning, bathrooms, utilities and most importantly, an upgraded area for volunteers to serve the area.
Two years ago, Commissioner Mike Cella made a motion to get the ball rolling on the funding Omega Park needed. Now, two years later, Commissioner Gayward Hendry joined Cella as they listened to Chairman Gavin Rollins, whose district the park calls home, explain the importance of parks.
“Parks are key to building strong communities,” Rollins said. “On the football field, soccer field, baseball field – that’s where character is built and that’s where families are able to have healthy, quality fun. That’s what it’s all about.”
According to Rollins, the support of this project has been stellar. He said this has been a plan at least two years in the making and now that it’s finally here, families in the area couldn’t be happier to know what’s coming. And while the concession stand is one of the more exciting things coming, there are a lot of other improvements that have park-goers happy too. One of those things is more behind-the-scenes than anything else, but according to James Householder, director of facilities for Clay County, it’s one of the most important updates Omega Park is set to receive.
“We’re overhauling the entire drainage structure of this park,” Householder said.
While not the most exciting thing to hear, Householder said the new drainage will help alleviate the large amounts of standing water the park can often see after extended periods of rain. He said a large portion of the nearly $470,000 budget for this Omega Park project is going toward the drainage.
When Middleburg experiences large periods of continuous rain, the football and baseball fields will often find themselves significantly more muddy than usual. Middleburg Association of Athletics Football Commissioner Andy Butler, who has been with the program since 2005, said there are many kids and many parents happy about a future with drier fields.
“The fields don’t flood or anything – it’s never anything too bad – but it can get pretty wet on the fields,” Butler said. “There is lots and lots of excitement about some improvements to help that and in all of the changes coming to the park.”
Some of the changes coming alongside better drainage and a new concession stand is a resurfaced parking lot, a basketball court, a tennis court repaving and more. Shannon Cloud, president of the Middleburg Association of Athletics, couldn’t be more thrilled about the changes. For her, parks are not only a place to gather and enjoy a ball game or slide down a slide, but a living piece of the community as well.
“This park is not only home for us, but it’s home for many, many, many years of memories,” Cloud said. “Everybody here has had a loss, they’ve had a victory, but what they’ve had most is friendship and family. It’s a place where friendships are made and lessons are learned. [These improvements are not only happening] to make the ones that served before us proud, but we want to pave the way for those that will come after us, so that we can continue on the legacy of Omega Park in Clay County.”