Rhyne Park on King Spring Road near South Cobb Drive will undergo a renovation that will replace retaining walls, provide extra practice areas, repair concessions and restroom buildings, and upgrade athletic fields.
The county will spend $56,000 on the upgrades using funds from special purpose local option sales taxes. Atlanta-based Wiley Wilson will begin the project in about four months. It will take between a year and a year and a half to complete.
“It’s a nice little park,” said Buster Ray of Mableton, president of the Rhyne Park Girls Softball
“It’s actually kind of secluded even though you’re right there in Smyrna. You still feel like you’re in the country or in the woods.”
While athletes take to the fields, their siblings sometimes play in a nearby creek.
Ray hopes the upgrades will elevate the park’s popularity.
“The park is growing as far as participation,” Ray said.
About 7,000 softball players visit the park every year, said Eddie Cannon, parks director. That doesn’t include the visitors who use the playground, tennis courts or use athletic fields on their own.
The parks department oversees 77 properties which make up 5,490 acres. It takes a budget of $21 million with 157 full-time employees and 230 part-time employees to maintain those parks.
Extra practice fields and a taller outfield fence could draw more tournaments, Ray said, and more fast-pitch softball teams. Two fields will be added where a retaining wall is now.
“We could probably double our capacity once we get those,” Ray said.
The extra use the park has seen is taking its toll.
“In addition to just being old and tired, all of these facilities have seen an increase in use,” said Bob Ott, who represents the area on the Cobb County Board of Commissioners.
The electronic score board has already been replaced, along with those in all other county parks, by Coca-Cola, and Ott says this will bring it up to the standards of the other county parks.