“The sound of the fountain is very aesthetic and can help calm the nerves,” said the longtime Dallas mayor.
Austin helped pick out the fountain for the park which memorializes his favorite elementary school teacher, he said.
“She probably taught me more about the English language than I learned in high school or college,” Austin said.
He said he wanted to make sure the fountain was the right size for the half-acre park and did not make an overbearing amount of noise, he said.
The fountain was funded with Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax funds.
McKoon Park dates to 1940 and was originally dedicated to Dallas solders who lost their lives in World War I, said Austin.
Among the markers in the simple, half-acre park in downtown Dallas is a stone with a 1940 plaque bearing the name “Memorial Park” — placed by the Dallas Garden Club, Community Service Club and American Legion.
The Rotary Club of Paulding County granite marker also placed a marker earlier this year telling of its efforts to plant trees.
The Dallas Garden Club and UGA Extension Service Master Gardeners began focusing on making the park more attractive in the middle of the last decade, said Joanne Fudger, member of the Dallas Garden Club and master gardener.
“It has been in the works for about five years,” said Fudger, a longtime member who was in the garden club with McKoon.
She said the park was an open patch of grass with no landscaping for years, and they wanted to give the site more character. The garden club, Master Gardeners and the city worked together to design the park in 2007, Fudger said.
“We have an appreciation for the city council and mayor for taking the Dallas Garden Club and Master Gardeners’ suggestions to refurbish the park so Dallas and Paulding County can enjoy it,” she said.
Though the park has been in Dallas since 1940 it had never been formally dedicated to any individual.
“The city decided to honor the oldest living citizen in Dallas,” Fudger said.
McKoon, a longtime Paulding County educator, was 96 years old at the time the park was dedicated to her in 2007.
“She was a beautiful lady with appreciation for gardening and beauty,” she said.
Austin said the park had vegetation specifically planted that McKoon would have worked with and been around her whole life.
Dallas Garden Club member Carole Thigpen, who also was a member with McKoon, said she would have loved the “simplicity” of the small park.
Austin said the park helps make the town more attractive, which helps increase property values and can bring in new businesses.