Augusta moves forward on Fleming Park work, memorial for boy
AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - More than four years after a 12-year-old boy was electrocuted at Fleming Park, city leaders have approved a memorial for him and improvements at the park.
In the consent agenda at its meeting Tuesday, the Augusta Commission approved more than $5.3 million for improvements at the park and Bernie Ward Community Center, including $75,000 for the Melquan Robinson Jr. Memorial and $95,550 for new fencing.
Melquan died in October 2018 after touching a fence at the park that had been electrified by some faulty underground wiring.
“It’s tragic within itself to even think that his life was cut short because of an incident at a park,” said Don Clark, Robinson’s former coach.
He says the last update the family received was another delay for $1 million to help renovate the park.
“I think the point of significance in this is there was a life cut short because of that,” said Clark.
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Through Tuesday’s approval, there’s now set to be a permanent $75,000 memorial for Robinson that will greet people at the entrance to the park. It’s part of a more than $5 million plan to renovate the entire park which includes over $95,000 given to help fix the fence.
Commissioner for District 10 John Clarke said: “I would like to see that park brought back. I would like to see his presence at that park. I would like for the neighborhood to get benefit from that park, so I’m glad that it’s finally taken place.”
But hopefully not too late for others.
Clark said: “Melquan represents something, but more importantly someone that we should never forget and make the improvements to ensure this never happens again.”
While his mom couldn’t speak with us, she says she wasn’t notified about this latest attempt to push forward Fleming Park.
At the time, we asked city leaders about the delay. They said the original SPLOST funding that allowed for a little more than $1 million wasn’t enough. But the next round of SPLOST allowed for $5 million more, which is what leaders approved Tuesday.
In all, more than 20 aspects of park upgrades are planned, ranging from new picnic and restroom pavilions to pool improvements to a new roof on the community center.
SEE THE IMPROVEMENT PLAN:
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