Upcoming park expansion aims to provide more inclusiveness to western McDonough residents

A splash pad, playground, open space, bandshell-type area, concessions and restrooms will be constructed on undeveloped land west of Avalon Park. Multipurpose trails will also be constructed on the property. (Staff Photo: Asia Ashley)

McDONOUGH— The city of McDonough’s plans to expand Avalon Park aims to make residents to the west of Interstate 75 feel more included.

The park, owned by the city of McDonough and operated by Henry County, is located south of Ga. Highway 20 and west of I-75 on Industrial Parkway.

“We have a lot of residents that have migrated to the Avalon area so we wanted this park to be inclusive for everyone,” said McDonough Councilwoman Kamali Varner. “We have a majority of our parks in the downtown area, but we don’t have anything for our citizens on the other side of 75. We thought this would be a benefit for the citizens to have access to a park.”

Georgia’s Xpress commuter bus service uses the location for a park and ride lot for commuters to and from Atlanta. The park also is home to an in-line hockey rink, a playground and the city’s only football field.

Plans for the park’s expansion westward include a splash pad, playground, multi-purpose trails, additional parking, a bandshell-type area, concessions and restrooms. The Henry County Board of Commissioners voted March 6 to use $47,700 in county-designated SPLOST IV Avalon Park funds to add restroom facilities at the park. McDonough will cover any remaining costs of the restrooms.

Bids for the splash pad construction are expected to go out in the coming weeks. Bids for the walking trails and the clearance for and expansion of the parking lot are expected to go out in the coming months.

“There’s a lot of kids and families that utilize that park already so we thought an expansion would be an asset,” said Varner. “Xpress already uses the park for parking, but when you get into football season, there’s limited parking over there so we definitely needed to expand the parking. Also, we might have people that come from work and they may want to jog around and use the multi-purpose trails.”

The expansion is budgeted at $2 million using the city’s SPLOST IV funds, according to city documents. Of that, $800,000 has been used to acquire the land for the expansion, according to McDonough City Administrator Keith Dickerson.

Upon completion of the expansion, city officials aim to host more events on the west side of town.

“A lot of people aren’t aware they live in the city limits on that side of town but they are, and we want to make sure we service all of our citizens and not just certain areas and we want to let them know that they’re not being forgotten about,” Varner said.

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