- Associated Press - Monday, January 27, 2014

HATTIESBURG, Miss. (AP) - Contracts may be awarded in February for construction of Lamar County’s first county-owned park.

“We have some smaller parks in the county, but they are city-owned,” said county Supervisor Phillip Carlisle.

The Hattiesburg American reported (http://hatne.ws/1iEewZA) the $400,000 project will be mostly funded through a grant from the Mississippi Department of Transportation.

The grant will cover $300,000 of the cost, with the Lamar County Board of Supervisors contributing a $100,000.

The engineering firm Neel-Shaffer Inc. was selected by the county to design plans for the park, which will be near the Oak Grove water tower.

Because of the way the grant is structured, construction is not expected to get underway until the third quarter.

“We’re probably actually starting construction in September,” said Michael Essary, civil engineer with Neel-Shaffer.

The proposed park, which would cover about three acres between Oak Grove Optimist Park and Hegwood Road.

Carlisle said a grassroots organization called Lamar County Park Partners has formed to help with private fundraising to buy equipment or add amenities at the park.

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Information from: The Hattiesburg American, http://www.hattiesburgamerican.com