A ribbon-cutting and opening ceremony will begin at 10:45 a.m. followed by a flag raising by local veterans and remarks from District 6 U.S. Rep. Tom Price, R-Roswell, and elected officials from the city. The one-acre, triangular-shaped park at the corner of Deerfield Parkway and Webb Road will include outdoor exercise equipment along a .15 mile path and a plaza with flags for the city, state, country, each military branch and soldiers who were prisoners of war or missing in action.
There will also be a peace pole that includes the phrase “may peace prevail on earth” in six languages.
“It’s exciting to be able to take a small piece of land and be able to do something there that hopefully our citizens can enjoy,” Mayor Joe Lockwood said.
Parks and Recreation Director Jim Cregge said the name Freedom Park was chosen because it reflects the freedom American citizens enjoy as a result of the military and the fact that the park provides a free outdoor gymnasium to the community.
“The idea for the park really came from just my standing out [by the corner of Deerfield Parkway and Webb Road] and just watching people in the community,” he said. “There are a lot of people who are out there running and exercising, and I thought wouldn’t it be cool to put in a gymnasium?”
Cregge said he also wanted to transform the corner into something that would make a positive statement on behalf of the city with its location being close to the city limits.
Councilman Bill Lusk said, “I think [the park is] an indication of who we are as a community in that there’s a strong element of patriotism in Milton and people show it.” Lusk, a Vietnam veteran, places hundreds of markers in the city around Veterans Day and Memorial Day for deceased veterans who lived in Milton or whose families live in Milton. More than 340 markers can be found encircling Freedom Park, along Deerfield Parkway and also down Birmingham Highway and Crabapple Road. “I thought [the markers are] a great tribute to bring recognition to those who fought for our country and preserved our freedom,” Lusk said.
The new Freedom Park will be the site for Milton’s future patriotic events such as Memorial Day and Veterans Day ceremonies.