The Greatest Generation Memorial Park has been on the mind and radar of Thomaston Mayor Hays Arnold for about seven years.
Part of his vision entailed community supporters getting involved with donations and contributions to move the project along.
Recently, Community Enterprises of Thomaston made a $200,000 donation to the park. In sum total, the company has donated $495,000 to the project including $20,000 for the park master plan.
In a letter of thanks to the community, Arnold, in part, wrote, “Having the Greatest Generation Memorial Park as our gateway to our city will leave a positive and indelible mark on visitors and citizens alike. Thank you again for your continuing generosity to our community.”
GGMP will be built on approximately 40 acres across Highway 19 at Ingle’s Market on the north end of town between the fountain pond and the tennis courts. Several amenities are planned, including walking trails, pavilions, restrooms and an interactive fountain (similar in concept to the fountain at Olympic Park in Atlanta).
“Community Enterprises is such a very important part of our community,” said Arnold on Wednesday. “The contributions they have made through the years are almost incomprehensible to folks.
“We are extremely fortunate as a community to have people of this sort here. We appreciate Mr. Neil Hightower and his family for the support they have given.”
While there isn’t a set timeline for the completion of the park, the price tag is expected to reach about $2.5 million in the long range after all phases have been completed.
Nearly $1 million has been received thus far.
“This latest donation has enabled the planning committee to move forward, finalizing plans for the first phase of the park,” noted Arnold. “We will look to begin reviewing bids for construction hopefully in the next few weeks. Maybe we can get construction started as early as this summer.”
According to Mayor Arnold, there have been a number of people who have expressed interest in making contributions and donations. He expects some of those contributions to start coming in when the park reaches the Memorial phase to honor war veterans and textile workers.
“I feel very confident that this community, as it has always done when the need is there, will step to the plate,” Arnold explained. “Thomaston was based on the textile industry here. We felt it was extremely important to remember that those people played an enormous part in the war effort just as our veterans did.
“They played a huge part because the defense industry is what kept things moving during the war.
“Folks here in Thomaston were turning out the tire cords and the fabrics used for things that were an integral part of the war effort.
“We felt they needed to be recognized because they were the economic fabric of this community.”
Attempts to reach Community Enterprises for comment prior to presstime were unsuccessful.