By Kristi Reed
Within the next few months, visitors to Little Mulberry Park will be able to enjoy several new amenities.
An observation deck overlooking the lake on the Hog Mountain side of the park is nearing completion. While the deck will be finished soon, safety improvements around the observation area will take several weeks to complete.
According to Rex Schuder, principal community planner for Gwinnett Parks and Recreation, demolition of the boathouse has always been part of the park master plan.
Though the boathouse building was removed, the boat storage area underneath the building was left intact and serves as the foundation of the observation deck. The stairs leading down to the boat storage area will be fenced off and other safety features put in place before the deck opens to the public.
Nearby, work on the trail segment connecting the existing park to the playground and disc golf course expansion section is nearing completion.
Visitors will be able to enter the park at the existing entrance at 3900 Hog Mountain Road and take the trail to the new section or park in the new lot being constructed as part of the expansion. The new lot, located at 3800 Hog Mountain Road, will have approximately 110 spaces and will provide easy access to the new playground, pavilion and disc golf course (other park entrances are located at 3855 Fence Road and 1300 Mineral Springs Road). A Hog Mountain Road sidewalk project connecting the park expansion entrance to the existing entrance is currently on hold due to a possible culvert replacement.
Equipment has already been installed at the new woodland-themed playground. Swings, slides, a tree house and merry-go-round are among the additions.
A stacked-stone seating wall is under construction and will enclose the playground area providing ample seating for adults visiting the playground with young ones.
Construction is still underway on the new restroom building. Nearby, the pavilion structure is complete, but two grills and picnic tables have yet to be installed. The pavilion design, Schuder said, is identical to that of the pavilion on the Fence Road side of the park.
Just up the hill from the pavilion is the entrance to the new 18-hole disc golf course. Course construction is complete, but the baskets and signage will not be installed until closer to the park opening date.
The heavily-wooded course is one of three disc golf courses in Gwinnett County, the others being located at Alexander Park and Lenora Park.
"This one will be more difficult," Schuder said.
The Lenora Park course is completely open and the Alexander Park course is 75 percent open, Schuder explained. The Little Mulberry course will require players to avoid numerous, closely-spaced pine trees.
Though the pine trees may add a level of difficulty to the course, they do provide a benefit in terms of course maintenance.
"There's no such thing as zero maintenance, but thought has been given to reduced maintenance," Schuder said referring to the fact the trails will be essentially self-mulching due to the pine tree cover. In areas where the pines are not close enough to shed needles on the trail, slow-growing, shade-tolerant grass may be planted.
Originally expected to open in the spring of 2014, the park expansion is now expected to be completed by July. Schuder said it is possible the park expansion may open as early as June.
The $1.9 million project is being funded through the 2009 SPLOST program.
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