Press Releases

Damascus Receives Funds for New Park

Damascus, Ga – The residents of Damascus will soon be able to enjoy a new park and recreational area in the heart of town, thanks to the generosity of a local family and the continuing efforts of Early County 2055 to create a healthy business climate and enhanced quality of life for communities of Early County. James O. McDowell and his wife, Ann, recently presented the town of Damascus a parcel of land to develop a natural, green space that families and friends can use for relaxation and enjoyment.  

"We are excited about receiving this wonderful gift. It will be a beautiful addition to the downtown area and provide the community with a lovely park," said Damascus Mayor Heath McDowell, whose family members donated the land. "This is a big step for Damascus and something that would have never happened without the generosity of James and Ann McDowell and Early County 2055. Everyone will enjoy this green space, which will be named McDowell Park, and it will compliment our town's beautification efforts."  

As part of the county-wide Early County 2055 economic revitalization program, Mayor McDowell has been leading his community in a beautification program to clean up dilapidated buildings and refurbish businesses in the downtown area. The three-lot piece of land, located on Joe Brian Street (at the corner of Ga. highways 45 and 200), was once the site of a garage and gas station, but had been vacant for over 10 years, according to the mayor.  

"During our city clean-up and beautification project, we asked residents and local businesses to pitch in and help," he said.  "James McDowell, a native of Damascus who now lives in Dothan, Ala. with his family, was one of the first to respond by giving the land to the city. Early County 2055 donated the funds to clean up the property, making way for creating the park".  

The land was given to the town with the understanding that it would be used as a city park for recreation and the enjoyment of the community.  

"Everyone is thrilled about this gift and appreciate the generosity of the McDowells," said Lisa Collins, director of economic development at Early County 2055. "EC 2055 is about cultivating communities together and that includes all communities that are located in Early County".  

The 'Early County 2055' economic revitalization initiative began two years ago as a major county effort to create a healthy business climate for the area. The Atlanta-based Charles and Catherine B. Rice Foundation originated and funded the initial planning process with a gift to the county.  Now in Phase Two, EC2055 is focusing on a five-year capital campaign that will stimulate economic development through new job creation, increased retail shopping options, downtown restoration and more.

"Part of Early County's 2055's Economic Revitalization program calls for removing dilapidated buildings and replacing them with something useful to the community – a new building, a park, a playground,"  said Collins. "The city of Damascus needed the funds to clean up the donated property and that falls under our mission. We are providing the city of Damascus with the money to tear down the building on the property and clean up the land so the community can develop it into a beautiful open space."        


Early County 2055 is a non-profit organization created to sustain the EC 2055 fifty-year vision, fund the long-term effort to protect the area's historic and cultural foundation and build and maintain a prosperous economic future.