DOUGHERTY COUNTY PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICER
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Dougherty County Holds Ribbon Cutting for Renovated Robert Cross Park in Southgate Community on Thursday
DOUGHERTY COUNTY, GA – The Dougherty County Board of Commissioners will hold a ribbon cutting ceremony on Thursday, July 15, 2021, beginning at 10 a.m., for the newly renovated Robert Cross Park located at 3085 Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive in the Southgate community.
Opening in the early 1970’s as Southgate Park, the 62-acre park was deeded to Dougherty County by the W.M. Story Estate in December of 1971. At that time, the park included a ball field, gravel parking area, restroom four pavilion shelters, and a concession stand, and was maintained by the City of Albany Recreation Department. In the early 2000’s, park maintenance was reassigned to the Dougherty County Public Works Department.
During and after the 1970’s, regular baseball and softball tournaments were held at the park. In the mid-1980’s, a group of citizens of Southwest Dougherty County requested a name change to honor Robert Cross for his dedication to the city baseball and softball leagues. Cross, who served on the Dougherty County School Board and as a long-time track coach and teacher at Albany State University (ASU), also resided with his family in the Southgate community.
When Dougherty County Public Works took the helm in the early 2000’s, construction began for a fishing pond, gravel walking trail, a multi-purpose facility, four additional pavilions, and playground equipment.
In March of 2015, Dougherty County cut the ribbon on the Robert Cross Park 4500-square-foot multi-purpose building, which includes a full catering kitchen and capable of hosting up to 400 people. Today, the facility is leased regularly by families for birthday parties, family reunions, weddings, and more. In November of 2020, Dougherty County Board of Commissioners approved additional upgrades to Robert Cross Park, to include a $76,000 paving project that features a paved walking trail around the existing fishing pond.
In addition to the paved walking trail, the Dougherty County Board of Commissioners also approved new exercise stations ($50,060), equipped with a new sunscreen shade ($34,034), new park name signage ($11,345), painting of the multi-purpose building ($9,800), parking lot enhancements ($2,665.82), and the addition of two porta-potties, which will cost $780 annually. Overall renovations totaled $185,622.63.
“The year was 1988 and perhaps, the beginning of Robert Cross Park, which was named after the track coach for ASU, and a resident of the area,” said Commissioner Victor Edwards, District 2 for Dougherty County, which the park resides in. “Dougherty County has continued to run the race for this park and the commitment from past commissioners to the present has been a priority for this community.”
For the past 10 years, Robert Cross Park has been the host site for the Annual Youth Fishing Rodeo, which is sponsored by Dougherty County Public Works and the local Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR).
Robert Cross is one of six parks maintained by Dougherty County Public Works. For more information about Dougherty County Parks, visit dougherty.ga.us.