Take a ride down trail at new Wellston Park
An opening date has been set for Wellston Park, which will have a 1-mile trail and the first dog park in Warner Robins.
The park will officially open on Aug. 31 at 10:30 a.m., said Jim Taylor, vice chairman of Wellston Trees and Greens. Taylor has been organizing volunteers and donors to get the park built.
He said when it opens, the city will have spent about $150,000 on the park, but he estimated that donations and in-kind services have totaled nearly $2 million. That includes the value of the land, which was donated to the city in 1999 to become a park, but nothing ever happened until a push for it began in 2014.
The off-leash dog park is about an acre fenced in near the entrance to the park, and it will have $10,000 in agility equipment bought with a grant from the Community Foundation of Central Georgia. The dog park includes a separate section for small dogs.
The trail is about 12 feet wide, runs mostly through shady forest, and will be covered with recycled, crushed concrete. The park will also have a 3-acre open lawn area for various events.
“It’s going to be quite a myriad of activities that are going on here,” Taylor said as he gave a tour of the park Monday.
It will be the city’s largest passive park, which means it is intended primarily as a place for people to come and relax, not for organized recreational activities.
The park is on Olympia Drive off busy Watson Boulevard, but Taylor said it has quite a bit of wildlife. That includes a deer population, owls and more.
Debra Jones, director of Keep Warner Robins Beautiful, visits the park regularly to check on its progress and is excited about the opening. She said the public is excited as well.
“I get calls about it all day, every day,” she said. “We have a lot of residents who want to be the first one to get their dogs out there.”
There is already a good bit of interest from groups that want to have events at the park. Taylor said the 116th Air Control Wing at Robins Air Force Base wants to have a 5K run on the trail, which airmen in the wing helped build. He also said there is interest in resurrecting the Split Rail Festival, an event held in Warner Robins many years ago, and that wedding planners are already expressing interest.
The next phase for the park is to finish restoration of Coleman Cottage, an old home that was moved from Centerville to the park to be used as office and meeting space. There are also plans to eventually build a 500-seat amphitheater.
The grand opening ceremony will be a big event, to include food trucks and live music. Attendees can bring their dogs, which can be turned loose inside the fenced dog park but must be on leashes throughout the rest of the park.
The fence for the dog park is up, and the next step will be to add the agility equipment. The trail has been cut through the woods and now the city’s Public Works Department is putting in the crushed concrete.
Taylor said he had hoped the park would be open earlier this year, but work has been slowed but rainy weather.