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Denny Dobbs Park to open Saturday

COVINGTON -- A ribbon-cutting ceremony will take place at Denny Dobbs Park on Friday, and the park will open to the public Saturday.

Recreation Commission Director Tommy Hailey described the park as a "passive recreation" space situated on 53 acres off Ga. Highway 212, across from Oak Hill Elementary School.

At this time, 16 acres have been developed; plans are to develop the rest of the space as money becomes available. The park's central feature will be a playground and pavilion that holds up to 175 people. Other amenities include two outdoor basketball courts, a LifeTrail, which is a series of outdoor exercise/physical activity stations, NEOS, an electronic game in which players race the clock to slap fast-moving blinking lights; trails, park benches and restroom facilities.

The ribbon cutting is open to the public and will take place at 3 p.m. Friday. State Rep. Bob Lane, R-Statesboro, will be the keynote speaker. Lane is a friend of Denny Dobbs, for whom the park was named.

"It's going to be a very nice park. We're excited about it. We're excited we can honor Denny Dobbs, who has meant so much to this community and has helped me and the Recreation Commission so much," Hailey said. Dobbs is a former state legislator and former member of the Newton County Recreation Commission.

The park was funded by impact fees at a cost of $1.48 million. The Recreation Commission withdrew some money from its fund balance to pay for grass and irrigation, Hailey said.

The park will officially open to the public on Saturday, when Prospect United Methodist Church will host a free festival from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. The festival will include face painting, T-shirt giveaways, food, games and door prizes.

"I'm on the recreation board and I'm excited about getting a park within District 2," said Rev. Ronny Brannen, pastor of Prospect United Methodist. "We just wanted the excitement of the park to be expressed in the church and the community. And it's happening on Sept. 11. What better way to bring families together to celebrate and for the church to be a part of the community and for folks that want to be involved to be of service? 9/11 is a great time to be a blessing."

Denny Dobbs Park is located at 6244 Ga. Highway 212 N.