Matthews Park in Greenbrier is already thriving.

In a time of uncertainty and chaos, it was exciting to hear city leaders would open the park prior to school starting.

Greenbrier Mayor Sammy Joe Hartwick was able to welcome city council members, the park board and other park partners and their families to a soft opening on the three-year anniversary of the city’s first public meeting regarding the park.

The 55-acre park is nestled on the former Matthews family property near the intersection of Ivy Street and Highway 65. City leaders paid tribute to the Matthews family in naming the park after Percy Matthews, who was a former city leader that served the Greenbrier School District for many years. Percy was a strong figure in Greenbrier’s history, and his family is grateful to see other families enjoying themselves on the land they grew up on.

One of the family members reached out to me and describe being “beyond thrilled” so see the land and their family’s history flourish in such a family-friendly environment.

It’s very clear the park is already loved and cherished by so many.

I know my children are included in that group.

Karson was ecstatic when he found out the park was finally open. He’s been impatiently waiting for the day I would come home and say, “Let’s go play at the new park!”

Unfortunately for him, he caught glimpses of the park several times before it opened to the public when tagging along with me to grab a photo for a progress update. It was a beautiful moment to see his excitement on July 27 when he heard he would finally be able to make his rounds from the splash pad to the large, playground area.

It speaks volumes on the city’s behalf the extra effort the city council and Mayor Hartwick (as well as those on the parks board) to ensure anyone would find enjoyment at the this park. From the all-inclusive play area, the playground area appropriate for children of all ages, the splash pad, the walking trail, skate park and fishing pond, there is a little bit of something for everyone.

Matthews Park was created with the residents in mind and with a vision for growth.

And, it looks like the city may just be able to move forward with Phase II a little sooner than expected.

Phase I was made possible through a 1 percent sales tax increase that residents voted in to help fund the park project along with covering the costs of the new fire station. Now that Phase I is complete, city leaders have been encouraged to apply for a grant that would fund Phase II – the amphitheater, basketball courts and a sand volleyball court.

My hopes is that the city receives the grant so that it can soon make this already wonderful park even better.

I have enjoyed many evenings out at the park, watching the children splash and play. Letting children be children is so important, and this park definitely provides a beautiful space for families to spend quality time together all while staying close to home.

Staff writer Marisa Hicks can be reached at mhicks@ thecabin.net.

Staff writer Marisa Hicks can be reached at mhicks@thecabin.net.

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