Little League baseball players, parents, community members and Hall County District 2 Commissioner Billy Powell were on hand Monday night as the words they had longed to hear were finally spoken: “Play ball.”
After inclement weather delayed the grand opening on March 23, Cool Springs Park officially opened and held its first baseball game on Monday night.
“The feedback (about the opening the park) has been all positive,” Powell said of the community’s reaction. “That’s why we jumped on the opportunity.”
According to Powell, the “master plan” is still to bring tennis courts, a multipurpose field, bicycle motocross and skate park, plus walking trails.
“Hopefully, one day (we will) be able to work toward that master plan,” he said. “I’m real thankful for the commissioners’ support to me and District 2.”
Powell addressed the spectators before the game, and he also threw out the ceremonial first pitch.
Mike Little, director of Hall County Parks and Leisure, also addressed the spectators. Like Powell, he thanked the former and current commissioners for making Cool Springs a reality. He also said, “we look forward to watching these boys play tonight, and many games to come.”
Garrett Thilenius was the recipient of Powell’s pitch, and his parents, Rob and Michele Thilenius, couldn’t have been happier for the park’s opening.
“I think it’s absolutely awesome. I had no idea this was grand opening night,” Rob Thilenius said. “It’s a beautiful park; beautiful facility. It’s very close for us; very close to home.”
Michele Thilenius agreed with him, and elaborated on how her son felt about the new park, and the convenience of having it in the Chestatee area of northwest Hall County.
“(Our son) has been excited. We literally live around the corner. At 5:29, he was like ‘OK, mom, we can go’,” she said. “It’s nice to have something out in this area, where most everything is a little farther into town. This is really nice for us guys that live out in the boonies.”
For James Taggart, the new park is something that could inspire the children because of how nice it is.
“I think any opening of a park is a very generous thing. It’s very obvious the parents and kids (are) supporting it. That’s a plus,” Taggart said.
“It’s very good the kids get to have professional-looking facilities. I think the biggest part of any student’s future depends on their surroundings, and this makes it more serious. This, I think, is quite exciting for the kids. This is a great facility. It inspires them to want to do better. ... And, it’s exciting; it’s the opening game.”
Taggart was watching his son, Sterling Taggart, play shortstop during the park’s inaugural game.
Vicki Trigger, grandmother of Kadin Inman, a first baseman who also played during the first game, echoed Jmes Taggart’s sentiments.
She said she thought the donation of the park was very generous, and that “the kids are the ones that are going to benefit from the park.”
The Cool Springs Park property was donated to Hall County in 2003 by Cool Springs LLC., according to the Hall County Parks and Leisure website. The park was given approval to build in 2011. The park is paid for with special purpose local option sales tax dollars and impact fees.
The park is at 5579 Cool Springs Road, Gainesville.
For more information on Cool Springs Park, visit www.hallcounty.or