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Winder fire chief to dedicate new park

WINDER - Winder residents now have another city park.

Winder Fire Chief Ray Mattison will dedicate the Mayors Walk Park at 2 p.m. Sunday. The new park is located in a triangular-shaped half-acre tract at the intersection of Hamilton and Woodlawn Avenues.

The dedication commemorates Fire Prevention month and kicks off the Winder Fire Department's yearlong centennial celebration. The department was founded in 1908.

Winder's first fire chief, C. M. Ferguson, also served as Winder's mayor from 1913-14, which gave Mattison the idea for the Mayors Walk Park.

Winder Mayor Buddy Ouzts, who will step down Dec. 31, also served as a volunteer fireman in the 1960s.

Ouzts, City Administrator Bob Beck and John Mobley, the only living former mayor, will speak.

The shady, sidewalked region of town with its proximity to the library attracts plenty of walkers. A 6,000-pound slab of granite lists all the mayors as well as the five who led Jug Tavern. A long lighted walkway leads to a large gazebo with two benches that give walkers a cool place to rest. Three paths hold three picnic tables and a lighted garden.

The park was paid for through city funds, about $15,000, and some people donated time and equipment, Mattison said.

"We tried to be frugal and still build something the city can be proud of," Mattison said.

About 10 former Winder mayors lived in a block area around the triangle, Mattison said.