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Tuesday May 24th, 2016 12:01PM

North Hall Park 'grandly opened'

By Jerry Gunn Reporter
GAINESVILLE - North Hall Park has already officially opened, but with food, fun, speeches, exhibits, lots of games and a ribbon cutting, county commissioners invited everyone to a 'grand opening' Saturday.

Parks and Leisure Services Director Mike Little said the new park on Nopone Road is a destination point for the entire family.

""We've got kids going into the technology center and we've got the mom or the dad going into the fitness area," Little said.

The park with its ball fields, trails, community center and technology center and other amenities has been opening in phases. In October the technology center was the last part of the park to open. It includes a large Apple computer lab, meeting rooms, private study rooms, even a coffee shop.

Fifteen year old Dylan Satterfield is glad the park's ball fields are close to home.

"This is very close to my house, it's a very nice place," he said. "We all love it; it's a great place to come."

The park had its challenges at first according to Commission Chairman Tom Oliver but it will help industrial development.

"This is one of the things that will be shown when you're bringing potential business people to this area to see if they want to locate here," Oliver said.

Oliver said the real value of the park will show up over time with public use.

"The value will show up in 10 to 15 years when our youth has had a chance to use it, our senior adults have had a place to go, it's a great opportunity for all of us."

The park's library and technology center is the library of the future according to Library Director Adrian Mixson.

"This is not your Grandma's library, this is your grand kid's library," Mixson said. "We'll have easy books here for early literacy but it is where the old is meeting the new."

Mixson said the center features 55 computers, two computer labs and is set up for Wi-Fi in the meeting rooms in addition to the Apple lab and a game room.

Mixson said plans to build a new library in Clermont are on hold.

"This is serving North Hall County for right now," Mixson added. "We have to see where the population goes and the economy is going to have to turn."

Clermont residents protested when they learned the county decided to locate a new library at the park and not in their town. At Saturday's grand opening park development supporters commended the county for meeting a community need and providing North Hall with the facility after a group of men got together, opened the commissioners ears and the result was something for the whole family.
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