THOMSON, Ga. (WJBF) McDuffie County and the City of Thomson have received a $2.2 million grant for the construction of a new park. They already had around $1 million earmarked from a recent SPLOST, and now they have enough funding to move forward.

Announced Thursday, the Improving Neighborhood Outcomes in Disproportionately Impacted
Communities Grant assisted with more than $225 million, the grant will be used for the construction of a public park along Railroad Street.

Inspiration rendering. Courtesy City of Thomson.

The park is something city officials have discussed for nearly a decade. They said they are excited to begin and hope the park will become a centerpiece for the planned revitalization of downtown Thomson.

“Well it’s great. It’s great but at the same time, we now know a lot of work starts too. Because up to this point, we’ve always spoke in hypotheticals. ‘This is what this project could be. This is what we could do here.’ And now we’ve got the opportunity to move into ‘This is what we’re going to do,'” explained Jason Smith, Community Development Director.

Inspiration rendering. Courtesy City of Thomson.

Current plans call for playgrounds, picnic areas, a water fountain, an amphitheater and other amenities. 

David Crawley, McDuffie County Manager said “We wanted to focus on something that would give families a place to gather and have fun, while giving us another option for a venue for events, and we are very excited about this grant project and appreciate the state’s support of our efforts to improve our community.”

In addition to the park, a planned walking trail, dubbed the “Music Mile,” would start from the park and route through the downtown area.

“Ideally, we could take this park and make it the starting point for that, maybe put some outdoor instruments in. That sort of thing. And make it to where this “Music Mile” will spot light some of the musical history in the community, kicks off there and it gives you a good starting place, a good community gathering point,” said Smith.

Construction is expected to begin later this year with work taking about 18 months to complete.

For more information about the grant, please review the press release from Georgia Gov. Brian
Kemp here.

Photojournalist: Will Baker.