Gwinnett County commissioners and community partners on Tuesday broke ground on an expansion of Graves Park that will include an interactive fountain and a new soccer field.
In addition to the interactive fountain for the kids, the Phase II expansion of Graves Park will include a 1.2-mile unpaved loop trail with two wooden bridges that will connect to existing trails at the park. The park will feature a specially treated, soil-based soccer field, the first of its kind in Gwinnett’s park system, plus landscaping and irrigation in other parts of the park.
The area around Graves Park is one of the more densely populated areas of the county where many people don’t have yards to play in.
"We recognized when we bought the property years ago that there are a lot of apartments in this area, and those residents needed a place to relax, play, and socialize,” said Chairman Charlotte Nash, who was county administrator at the time. “The Graves property seemed ideal for meeting that need.”
Gwinnett County purchased the park property in 2000 from the George Graves family, which had owned the property since 1880. At the time of purchase, it was the largest undeveloped tract of land in western Gwinnett and the Graves family wanted it preserved for passive recreation.
Commissioner Lynette Howard thanked taxpayers for supporting parks, adding it’s exciting to be able to bring different activities to parts of the county that need more recreational areas.
“These additions help fill out some of the activities offered at Graves Park,” Howard said. “This is an area with a lot of diversity, and parks create opportunities for people from all over the world to come and relax and play together. I’m proud that many of the park’s new features like the fountain are inclusive so that everyone can enjoy them, especially people with disabilities. Our parks offer recreational opportunities for all of our residents.”
The ceremony opened with the presentation of colors by the Meadowcreek High School JROTC and Graves Elementary School children leading the Pledge of Allegiance.
The park improvements are expected to be complete by summer 2019. Graves Park is located at 1540 Graves Road in Norcross. More information about Gwinnett County Parks and Recreation can be found at www.gwinnettparks.com.