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Basketball to boxing: Transformation of Freedom Park Rec Center almost complete

Macon-Bibb Parks and Recreation director Doc Dougherty says the new facility should be open to the public by the beginning of August.
MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) - The grand opening for the improved Freedom Park Recreation Center could include a big boxing tournament.

That's according to Macon-Bibb Parks and Recreation Director Doc Dougherty.  The transformation from a basketball facility to a boxing facility is part of a plan by the Parks and Recreation Department to offer more activities to the city's youth.

Dougherty says it shouldn't be too big of a problem for those who relied on Freedom Park for indoor basketball, because the rest of the centers will still have courts.  Plus, he says, there are more than 20 outdoors courts scattered around town. 

The changes are obvious when you walk inside the center.  The space next to the gym, which used to be a meeting room, has been converted into a training room complete with brand new punching bags.  The biggest changes, though, are inside the gym.

Two full-size boxing rings sit on the floor where basketball was once played, except it's actually a brand new floor.  There are also brand new fold-out bleachers, which match the red, white and blue color scheme of the boxing rings.

Kids in Bibb County and the surrounding area will be able to train and compete here, which is a plus for those who used to train at the Middle Georgia Amateur Boxing Club.  That downtown facility closed earlier this year.

The new-look Freedom Park will not only be used for boxing.  Dougherty says the facility is in a prime location for kids to do things that "don't include punching a bag at all."  The track around the lake on the property can be used for running.  He adds the training room could also be used for other types of conditioning not related to boxing.  The whole idea, he says, is to keep them active.

Dougherty says the center should be open to the public by the start of August.


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