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Posted: July 31, 2009 10:48 a.m.

Ground broken at Denny Dobbs

Jennifer T. Long/

Construction is finally set to begin on Denny Dobbs Park after Wednesday’s groundbreaking at the site of the future park. Former State Rep. Denny Dobbs, the park’s namesake, was "very appreciative and proud of the project," as he said a few words at the ceremony.

The park is being named in Dobbs’ honor because of his years of service to Newton County as a legislator and member of the Recreation Commission.

"Time after time after time, when I first came here, he was getting and sending grants our way," Recreation Commission Director Tommy Hailey said after the groundbreaking. "A lot of things were done that we never would been able to do without those monies."

District 2 residents have been waiting 10 years for the park, which will be located off Ga. Highway 212 in the Oak Hill Community. District 2 Commissioner Earnest Simmons has said the western part of the county needed a park and he was excited to finally see the park’s construction approved.

Although it was a rainy day, more than 50 residents and local leaders showed up to honor the long-time Newton County native and celebrate the future park, including Chairman Kathy Morgan and Covington Mayor Kim Carter, along with members of
the Board of Commissioners, City Council and Recreation Commission.

Hailey welcomed all to the ceremony and expressed his gratitude to the Newton County Recreation staff and Sunbelt Builders.

"Our staff is the best and I could not do what I do without them all," Hailey said during his introduction of special guests. "Newton County should feel fortunate to have Sunbelt in our community, and we are very blessed to be using them for our project."

Sunbelt President Steve Kapp said he was proud to be the park’s project manager and to have the opportunity to give back to the county. He said previously that construction on the park should start in two to three months and the park is set to open in Spring 2010.

Dobbs’ wife Cathy and his two sons, Lane and Luke, were also present, as well as community pillars B.C Crowell, who helped in the actual groundbreaking, and Louly Hay Kapp, director of the Covington YMCA.

Although Morgan wasn't chairman when the decision was made to name the park after Dobbs, on Friday she said the BOC at the time wanted to show Dobbs and his family a small token of apprecation for the sacrifices they made to make Newton County a better place. She said a park was a natural way to do that.

"Denny also believes if you create a positive place for families to play together, it will enrich both the families and Newton County as well," Morgan said by e-mail. "The values learned through teamwork playing baseball, football or basketball develop good skills for life. It is better to spend dollars to create a positive environment to enrich the lives of the children of our county than to spend more dollars in the justice system to incarcerate them. Anyone that knows Denny, knows he is most happy when he, Cathy and the boys are together as a family, whether it is playing ball, diving underwater, supporting one of his sons in an activity of his choice, sharing a meal or even at church."

The Rev. Ronny Brannen, from nearby Prospect United Methodist Church, concluded the groundbreaking with a blessing and a luncheon followed at his church, located in the heart of the Oak Hill Community.

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