Work to begin this year on 300-acre Stout Park

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Sep. 15—Off Burnt Hickory Road in southwest Cobb, almost to the Paulding County line, some 300 acres of public parkland sits waiting to be developed.

The county took a step toward building out Violet Stout Park this week with a $3 million allocation for the first phase of construction. One day, the county hopes, the property will be Cobb's first public full-fledged equestrian facility.

For now, the first phase will improve the entry to the park at Brownsville Road, and adding a pedestrian crossing across the road as well, said Parks Director Michael Brantley. It'll also include a parking lot, a bathroom, a road accessing the interior of the park, and a small outdoor show ring for horses.

Brantley added that a bridge over Sweetwater Creek was originally planned as part of the package, but it turned out to be over budget. The improvements will be paid for with 2016 special purpose local option sales tax dollars.

With approval from the Board of Commissioners this week, Brantley said he expects construction to begin in the next three to four months and last roughly a year.

Currently the park is open only for scheduled events and not daily use. In 2019, the board approved an ambitious master plan for the property which includes miles of trails, a covered equestrian facility, a dog park, and a community garden.

The county first acquired about 80 acres of the land in the 1990s from Richard Stout, who donated the property in his wife's name. The remaining acreage was purchased from subsequent parks bonds during the 2000s.