More than 50 years ago, Woodrow Wilson (a local resident, not the U.S. President) donated land on Mount Vernon Rd. along Sweetwater Creek for a recreational park. The only other park in Douglas County at that time was the City Park (now Hunter Park) in Douglasville.
The much-needed facility for the eastern end of the County was welcomed, and became the place where many residents gathered for baseball, football, and family fun. Later, the County purchased an additional seven acres adjacent to this property, and this became the Lithia Springs Girls Park, the birthplace of girls’ softball in the area.
The Woodrow Wilson and Lithia Springs Girls Parks became vibrant and much-used facilities. Thousands of children grew up on the fields, families bonded, and lifelong friends were made.
There were many families who spent practically every spare minute they had at these parks: developing programs, laying sod, building fences, cutting grass, picking up litter, cleaning up after the fields were flooded by Sweetwater Creek, and much, much more. The Hutchinsons, Mosses, Heads, Godfreys, Zachmeyers, Deals, Hammocks, Worthans, and many other families felt that this was important - and it was.
After many years of being regularly flooded by Sweetwater Creek, the Woodrow Wilson Park was vacated by organized sports, and replaced by the new $2.2 million Lithia Springs Recreational Park at the other end of Mt. Vernon Rd. at South Sweetwater Rd. - on much higher ground! Douglas County opened the new park earlier this year and it features four ball fields, two playgrounds, a concession stand, rest rooms, “walking track” sidewalks, picnic pavilions, and an area for rest and reflection. One of the playgrounds is 100 percent all-accessible, thanks to a generous $75,000 grant from the Resurgens Orthopaedics Foundation.
However, the old Woodrow Wilson Park still has a lot of life in it. Using a $92,000 grant that the County matched mainly with labor/in-kind services, it will open as a passive park at 10 a.m., Saturday, July 21, with areas for soccer, bocce, horseshoes, kite flying, and pick-up ball games for families, Churches, and other organizations to enjoy. There will be a picnic pavilion and walking trails/track. The tennis courts at the Lithia Springs Girls Park are still active.
With its natural beauty, quiet atmosphere, beautiful trees, and new facilities, the Woodrow Wilson Park will start to create remembrances for a new generation of residents. No organized sports will be held on these fields - no leagues, no scheduled competitions - just fun for families and others on their own schedule!
Although Sweetwater Creek will most likely continue to flood the area on occasion, the County has designed the new facilities to be “floodable” - able to withstand water and not be ruined. Fencing has been installed that will allow floodwaters to flow through them without tearing them down. The new pavilion has been constructed on higher ground adjacent to the tennis courts, and horseshoe pits are made of concrete so that they can more easily be cleaned.
The Woodrow Wilson Park also features a new dog park, a fenced-in area where dogs can learn to socialize and exercise with their owners and other dogs. The Woodrow Wilson Dog Park is the second public dog park in the County, the first one being the highly visited one at the Deer Lick Park Family Fun Center.
The Woodrow Wilson Park will be maintained by Douglas County Parks and Recreation, and facilities may be reserved by calling 770-920-7129.