News 12 at 6 o'clock / Thursday July 28, 2011
EVANS, Ga. -- If you've driven through Evans recently, you probably noticed construction is moving along at the new Evans Town Center Park and amphitheater. Crews expect the gates to open sometime in September and hope to have some big acts on the stage in October.
Six months ago, it was just a pile of dirt but now Evans Town Center Park is much closer to a reality.
Donna Wilkinson and her three kids are ready for the park and amphitheater to open.
"I think it's great, it will give our kids a chance to ride their bikes and scooters in a safer place," Donna said.
Her daughter, Jessica, is very excited about the park opening.
"I'm kinda glad that we're getting another park for that there's more to do," Jessica said.
The 17-acre, $3.5 million dollar park is right on track.
"We're on schedule to be finished in mid-September with this project," said Matt Schlachter, the Columbia County director of Construction and Maintenance.
The plans are almost in place, and it's a project the county's really proud of.
"We wanted green space, we wanted playgrounds, we wanted shelters, we wanted walking tracks, we wanted a lot of landscape out here. We wanted something for everybody," Schlachter said.
One thing they wanted is a 6,000 square foot playground.
"They're excited about that, to be able to play on one that's more their size," Donna said. "It looks really fun."
But the biggest attraction may be the new amphitheater. It's big enough for about 8,000 people.
"We've gotten a lot of interest in the park, met with a lot of people, looking at trying to get some good shows out here for the citizens and that's what it's all about, making sure that we can provide the citizens of Columbia County a fun, enjoyable entertainment venue," Schlachter said.
Last November in Augusta, the county announced the amphitheater would be named the Lady Antebellum Pavilion and Josh Kelley Stage.
Now county leaders hope the six-time Grammy winning group can get the park started off right with a concert.
"We're looking forward to getting them back home and putting on a good show for us. We hope to have some stuff locked down soon, but as soon as we do, we'll be sure to let you know," Schlachter said.
Sources say proceeds for a fall concert with Lady Antebellum could benefit The University Health Care Foundation, where Charles and Josh Kelley's father, a former Augusta cardiologist, has an endowment.
We're told an official announcement will be coming in the next few weeks.