Editorial: Pocket park project coming together through public-private partnership

Dalton's sprawling Haig Mill Lake Park opened to much fanfare last fall, and for good reason.

The park, located in the northern part of the city, was one Dalton's largest outdoor recreation projects in recent memory. Amenities at the facility include a 3.5-mile walking/biking trail around the lake, a large playground, fishing piers, a boating dock for paddle boats and canoes, a picnic pavilion, kayak rentals, an outdoor classroom/learning area and plenty of shaded benches to soak up nature's beauty. The park was built with $5 million from the 2015 Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST), which is a 1% sales tax on most items sold in the city.

While city officials and community leaders saw the park as a boon to existing residents, it also serves as a lure to attract young professionals to live, work and play in Dalton and Whitfield County. This concerted effort has led to more outdoor recreation facilities where we can socialize, exercise or relax.

The latest outdoorsy project is a pocket park just off I-75 at the Walnut Avenue exit.

The Dalton Civitan Club — a civic group that has been active locally for almost 100 years — is building the park near the intersection of Dug Gap Battle Road and College Drive, where the former Greater Dalton Chamber of Commerce building was. The park will have a berm, parking spaces and an asphalt path leading to an observation deck overlooking a scenic waterfall.

Several community groups have worked on the park. In March, volunteers cleared away brush and limbs from the area, which had become overgrown. Participating in the cleanup were volunteers from Believe Greater Dalton, Christian FreeWorship Church, Dalton Civitan Club and Keep Dalton-Whitfield Beautiful.

The Dalton Civitan Club asked the Dalton City Council to help out, and members of the elected body obliged.

Club members asked for the Public Works Department to build the berm and pave the parking lot. Cub members would take care of the rest of the work on the city-owned site. The estimated value of the work that Public Works Department will do is $7,518.

We're excited to see the park open (the target date is Sept. 28) and hope Dalton residents and visitors alike enjoy it. Further, kudos to the many community groups that are supporting the project with their time and efforts. They aren't simply asking city government for a handout. They are invested in the project, and their dedication is to be commended.

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