A new park featuring four family pavilions, 3.4 miles of paved trails, 25 physical fitness stations and 2.8 miles of unpaved trails that move through pine forest and indigenous meadows at Fort Bragg is set to open.
On Wednesday, Jan. 19, Fort Bragg will host a ribbon-cutting ceremony to officially open the new Liberty Park, followed by one of Fort Bragg Directorate of Public Work’s Arbor Day events. As part of the Arbor Day event, an additional 200 Azaleas will be planted. The volunteer event will start at 12:35 p.m. and volunteers should bring a pair of gardening gloves.
The park utilizes the section of Bragg Boulevard that was vacated to construct the Murchison Road Bypass. In addition to trails, there are over 14 acres of maintained grass and 52 acres of stabilizing wildflowers and other grasses. In the near future, two decommissioned churches will be converted into community centers.
“We are excited to be opening this new park for our Fort Bragg community,” said Brian Vesely, Fort Bragg Directorate of Public Work’s architect and chief of design and project management. “Not only is it helping to remove the blight of the closed road, but it is also improving the quality of life for our Soldiers and Families.”
Liberty Park will serve as the anchoring point for the upcoming Liberty Trail. The trail is a 14.1-mile loop that will serve to connect the various parks and trail systems that exist within the Fort Bragg cantonment area, increasing community spaces for family and soldier leisure and enhancing the infrastructure available for physical readiness.
The trail is modeled in the style of the linear parks of Chicago and Boston’s “Emerald Necklace,” Atlanta’s “Beltline,” and New York City’s “Highline.” The trail will be dotted with several pocket parks and anchored by large parks such as Wilson Park and two new parks, Willow Lakes Park and Liberty Park. It also incorporates several of the historical locations and markers on Fort Bragg.
“The park and trail are named ‘Liberty’ because that’s a name that unites the installation and the community,” said Col. Scott Pence, Fort Bragg Garrison Commander.
The Special Forces have the Latin form of Liberty in their motto: “De Oppresso Liber” and the 82nd Airborne Division has Liberty in the first verse of the All American Song, “We’re All-American and proud to be; For we’re the Soldiers of Liberty.” In addition, Liberty Park and Trail are named after the string of towns and villages that the U.S. Army liberated in France, in 1944, as they moved from Omaha Beach to Bastogne.
“The park and the new recreational trail will enhance quality of life for our Soldiers, Families and guests,” said Col. Pence. “We are proud to offer this space to the Fort Bragg community. Our professionals in the garrison get fulfillment from improving the installation and making quality of life just a little better every day.”