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Downtown Breaks Ground on Pocket Park

16 Aug, 2017

Dignitaries broke ground on the pocket park, a small green space that is the first project in a three-year enhancement of Moultrie’s downtown.

The park is located on Second Avenue at First Street Southeast, across from Southwest Georgia Bank, which donated the land for the park to Downtown Moultrie Tomorrow. DMT is a private group with essentially the same membership as the Downtown Development Authority, a city agency tasked with promoting downtown as a shopping area.

The bank had owned the property since 1992, bank president Dewitt Drew said at the ceremony, and hadn’t done anything with it except maintain the grassy lot. The park will feature benches and trees, according to a rendering of the plans. It will extend about a half-block eastward from the corner to SGB’s parking lot. Moultrie Main Street Director Amy Johnson said the bank will also renovate its parking lot to add green space. A chain link fence that surrounded the parking lot has already been removed, and an artistic wrought iron fence is planned.

The park itself is being funded with private donations, Johnson said. The city is contributing streetscape work on the sidewalks surrounding it. The sidewalk on First Street already features brick pavers as part of an earlier phase of the city’s ongoing streetscape work. This project will add pavers on the part of Second Avenue that borders the park.

The next project that’s expected to come together is improvements at the county-owned parking lot on Second Street Southeast. It lies on the back side of businesses like Beans and Strings and The Square and across the street from the city’s intermodal transportation facility.

The county has agreed to upgrade the lot, Johnson said, and David Herndon, chairman of the DMT’s Enhancement Committee, said he hopes a groundbreaking can be scheduled soon.

The third project planned is an upgrade to the city’s parking lot on Second Avenue behind the former Sportsman Restaurant. Herndon said organizers plan to remove the dilapidated restaurant, which closed in December 2003, and convert it to another pocket park and access to the improved parking lot.

“That’s going to be the most complex project, and it’s going to take a little longer, but we’re working on it,” Herndon said.

Other projects planned are the installation of security cameras in a nine-block area, which is awaiting word on grant applications, and a downtown visitors center, which would include an office for Main Street, public restrooms that would be available during downtown events, and other amenities.

“Everybody is coming together with a great sense of community,” Herndon said.

The overall enhancement effort will include contributions — of money, of work or both — from a wide variety of government groups, civic organizations and private property owners.