Wagener residents should expect to see some big improvements to Roy Warner Memorial Park in the future, according to Aiken County Parks, Recreation and Tourism Director Mark van der Linden.
The park’s current footprint includes a former mud run, an old concession stand and bathrooms, fencing, bleachers, three baseball and softball fields, a basketball court, batting cage, a playground and a rented administrative office.
But once funding begins to trickle in, van der Linden said the park will undergo some major changes.
The park’s expansion is in what van der Linden called “phase one” of the engineering stage. So far, the department has already constructed a fence around the park’s property to keep all individuals safe. That addition was prompted by children who were observed playing too close to the road.
That project was a clear priority, van der Linden said.
The rest of phase one includes site prep, demolition of several structures bought from the Young Farmers years ago and grading of land to develop a field. The “future phases,” as van der Linden called them, includes the creation of a new park sign, installation of a fence around the football field, a new bathroom and new concession stand. Other projects include repaving the road and parking area.
When staff can begin work depends on how much revenue the recreation department receives from Capital Projects Sales Tax round three. Phase one of the park’s expansion is funded by $1 million from Capital Projects Sales Tax round two.
Van der Linden said engineers Johnson, Laschober & Associations P.C. of Augusta estimate the rest of the project’s total cost may come to about $3 million.
“It really depends on how much we get, but right now we’ve labeled the first part phase one and the others as future phases,” van der Linden said. “Even though we don’t have the other round of money, I’ve went ahead and put together a master plan for well out in the future.
“We’re not trying to make this just like the City of Aiken’s Citizens Park. We want this area to provide multiple sports and activities, but it’s more to provide the folks around Wagener, Salley, Perry and even some out of a Lexington an area to play without driving 30 minutes to the city.”
Van der Linden said he hopes to have phase one, which includes a multipurpose field for soccer and football, done by fall 2015.
Roy Warner Memorial Park is located at 4287 Festival Trail Road in Wagener.
For more information, visit the Aiken County Parks, Recreation and Tourism Facebook page or www.discoveraikencounty.com.
Maayan Schechter is the local government reporter with Aiken Standard. An Atlanta native, she has a mass communications-journalism degree with the University of North Carolina Asheville. Follow her on Twitter @MaayanSchechter.