Riverbend Park gym under construction; park expected to open before the end of the year

Charles Oliver/Daily Citizen-News

Construction of the gym at Riverbend Park is underway. The gym and the park, which is off the south bypass near Southeast Whitfield High School, are expected to open before the end of the year.

Steel beams stretch to the sky above Riverbend Park.

The gymnasium at Whitfield County's newest park is under construction, and officials say the gym and the park are on schedule to open before the end of this year.

The park, which is being built on 75 acres of land off the south bypass near Southeast Whitfield High School, is funded by a four-year, $66 million Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) approved by county voters in 2020. A SPLOST is a 1% sales tax on most goods sold in the county.

"I drove by there a few days ago," said Allen Hiatt, who said he lives just a few miles from the park. "They seem to be making good progress."

Whitfield County Parks and Recreation Department Director Brian Chastain said the gym is roughly 30,000 square feet with two basketball courts, two meeting rooms and a walking track.

"There will also be some staff office space and a covered pavilion on the back side of the building. We will have team dressing rooms accessible for basketball, soccer and football," he said.

The park will have four baseball/softball fields and one soccer field.

"The soccer field will be the first one in Whitfield County that is full FIFA size," said county Board of Commissioners Chairman Jevin Jensen. FIFA is the international governing body for soccer.

Ron Lynn, who said he lives a few miles from the park, said he's glad the county is building baseball/softball fields.

"Right now, kids have to go all the way up to Varnell (Edwards Park) to play," he said.

The Board of Commissioners voted in December to name the gym after Roger Crossen, a member of the Board of Commissioners from 2015 until his death in November and a long-time director of the Whitfield County Parks and Recreation Department.

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