By Maria-Jose Subiria
Lovejoy residents and visitors will have a chance to kick back and relax, while enjoying a natural environment at the city's new Mayor's Park, which is located at 11620 Hastings Bridge Road.
Kaycia Rhone, assistant coordinator at the Lovejoy Community Center, said the grand opening for the park will be Sunday, July 4, from 5 p.m., to 10 p.m. It will coincide with the city's Fourth of July celebration.
The event will feature a pie-eating contest, a dating game, vendors -- and a fireworks display, at 9:30 p.m.
Rhone said the three-acre park will be a good location from which to watch the fireworks display in downtown Lovejoy. Last year's celebration was geared to the grand opening of Green Park, and featured a three-on-three basketball tournament.
The City of Lovejoy created Green Park last year, she said, and it includes a play space for children, and basketball courts. "Green Park is really geared towards sports," said Rhone, noting the difference between the two parks.
The new Mayor's Park includes a 1.5 acre lake, walking trail, a gazebo and a pavilion. "It has some shady spots to relax in the afternoon," said Rhone.
People may walk their dogs around the trail, which is surrounded by a wooded area, she said. "The park has no restrictions ... It will be opened Mondays through Sundays, from 7 a.m., to 11 p.m.."
She said Lovejoy was not able to open Mayor's Park at a sooner date, because the city was working on prior development projects, including Green Park and the Open Air Market.
"We are taking them all one at a time," she said.
It took the city approximately one year, from planning, to construction, for the park to become a reality, according to Rhone. She said the project underwent several construction delays last month, because of stormy weather.
Though the city has grown in population, and has expanded its business development, it was missing an area where residents can escape and enjoy nature, Rhone said.
It was named Mayor's Park, said, because, "This is just something Mayor [Joe] Murphy put a lot of hard work into."
The city invested about $300,000 in the Mayor's Park project, according to Lovejoy City Manager Sebastian Jackson.