By Patrick Yost
On what would have been its namesake’s 95th birthday, Madison officials held a “soft” opening of Lambert Park, a glorious addition to the city’s shared greenspace.
The park, located at the corner of College Avenue and North Main Street, encompasses a four acre facility filled with a walking trail, proposed playground and dog park, exercise
stations and growth of mature pecan trees providing shade in a lawn area. The park is named in memory of Ezekiel Roy Lambert, Jr., “one of Madison’s most stalwart citizens,” a brochure on the park exclaims.
Present at the opening was Lambert’s widow Christine Lambert. She beamed as Madison Mayor Fred
Perriman spoke of the potential impact on the quality of life for Madison residents and on Roy Lambert’s legacy on Madison and Morgan County.
“We gather for no other greater
occasion than to honor the late E. Roy Lambert,” Perriman said.
“Roy Lambert, as we all know, was Madison himself.”
The park also features several metal benches and a stunning granite map in an area near Main Street that includes the location of every community in
Morgan County, main roads, rivers and rail lines. The map, according to Christine Lambert, was produced with granite mined in Elberton and was completed by Josh Koons. The roughly 10’ x 10’ map is surrounded by granite benches resting on steel poles. Christine Lambert said a metal mule sculpture will also be placed near the map.
Monica Callahan, Madison planner, said the event was to honor “all the people that worked behind the scenes that helped make this happen.”
The park’s impetus began when the Madison Greenspace Conservation Commission completed a “green print” study in 2008. As part of that study it was determined that the city wanted a “neighborhood park within a 10 minute walk of everybody’s home,” Callahan said. At the time, the city lacked a north side park. The Madison Downtown Development Authority (DDA) assembled the land for the park and Christine Lambert became an “essential donor,” Callahan said. “She really thought idea of a north side park was a great idea.”
Christine Lambert, Callahan said, “is the vitality behind this idea.”
Trey McMichael with Piedmont Designs completed the early phase landscaping. Callahan also gave praise to Madison’s Georgia Civil, Inc. for the park’s
Callahan said last Thursday’s opening marked “phase one” of the park’s construction and that approximately 25 percent of the park is complete. Fresh sod was in place in more than half the park and, Callahan said, playground equipment would be added soon. Callahan said the city was also working to try and complete a dog park at the north side of the park.
The park’s construction and eventual completion is part of the city’s on-going Downtown Urban Redevelopment Area (DURA) project supervised by the DDA. Other DURA projects include the Canaan Corner Store project, the Martin Tot Lot, Silver Lakes Court, the renovation of the Central of Georgia Depot, Gilmore House and correcting storm water flow in the Canaan neighborhood.
Mayor Perriman, hands outstretched, said he marveled at the “hard work and love that has gone into this park.”
“Roy Lambert loved Morgan County and so do I,” Christine Lambert said.