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August filled to brim with ribbon cuttings

LAWRENCEVILLE - Officials may wear out the scissors this month, with ribbon cuttings across the county.

In the next several weeks, facilities will open at three major parks in the county and a fourth brand new park will be opened to the public.

Community Services Director Phil Hoskins said he can't remember a busier month. "I'm sure it's the biggest year we've had in terms of groundbreakings and ribbon cuttings," he added.

On Aug. 19, officials will celebrate new football fields at two of the county's older parks - Lenora Park in the Centerville area and Bethesda Park between Lawrenceville and Lilburn.

In the past, football programs in those areas had to use converted baseball fields.

According to Recreation Manager Tina Fleming, that date is when football programs across Gwinnett participate in an annual Jamboree, with nearly 10,000 players and cheerleaders converging on a half-dozen or so fields.

Erik Richards of the Gwinnett Football League said both fields were long overdue, especially with the program's growth and success in players eventually reaching college and, in a few cases, even professional teams.

"If it wasn't for the county keeping up with these facilities, we'd be in trouble," Richards said.

Fleming said the county will also open its second dog park that day at Lenora Park, while improvements will continue at Bethesda, where an indoor aquatic center is under construction.

A week later, on Aug. 26, officials will celebrate the end of a long renovation project at Best Friend Park.

A new pool has already opened to the public, but park-goers can also enjoy two outdoor basketball parks and a picnic-pavilion.

One of the amenities that was missing at the Jimmy Carter Boulevard park was a multi-purpose trail, Hoskins said, but one was added as part of the renovations.

And a senior softball league will return to their home field and play that morning.

Also on Aug. 26, officials will open a new park along the Chattahoochee River.

Holcomb Bridge Park was once the home to the Pinckneyville Arts Center, but the facility was moved and the county converted it to a small passive park, complete with river overlooks and a playground.