Linden dedicates Austin Park

Published 10:00 pm Friday, August 7, 2009

Linden mayor Mitzi Gates, members of the Linden City Council and citizens gathered at Austin Park on Tuesday at 5 p.m. to dedicate the park’s new renovations and upgrades.

Located beside George P. Austin Junior High School, the park was originally named after the former principal of Linden Academy, George P. Austin Jr. Renovations included the installation of amenities such as running water and a sink in the existing building as well as the addition of rope fencing.

“It’s been an ongoing process,” said councilman Mike Carlisle. “We wanted to have an official christening of the park because we weren’t sure if there had ever been a dedication before.”

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Plans for the renovations began under former mayor Butch King, and the renovations officially began in April 2008.

“We want to recognize the accomplishment of the renovations and to say thanks to the mayor and council at that time and the city crew who have done the renovations,” Gates said. “We want to make sure to recognize the people who need to be recognized.”

Gates also thanked the City of Linden parks and recreation board for its financial support in the project.

“A vision is wonderful, but a vision without funding doesn’t go very far,” Gates said. “We are so grateful for the funding for both of our parks.”

The park now features modern playground equipment and a pavilion equipped with tables, running water and a sink. Because of the renovations, the park can now be used for family reunions, birthday parties and other types of gatherings.

The mayor and city council completed the dedication by mounting a plaque honoring the work of the former mayor and council in revising the park. All those present celebrated by eating grilled hot dogs and hamburgers following the ceremony.

“Without a doubt, this is a real accomplishment, and an enhancement to our city, to the neighborhood and to the school,” Gates said.