BROOKSVILLE - Residents, officials and church leaders gathered Wednesday morning to break ground on the Brooksville Common.
For the past three years, a group of volunteers have been fundraising and planning for the vacant lot, located between Patricia's Boutique and the First United Methodist Church of Brooksville, to be a common area where locals and visitors alike can meet, pray, have lunch, take in Antonio Caparello's Civil War mural or meditate.
A pavilion is planned, as well as trees representing children, learning, compassion and prayer, and biblically-inspired statues.
"The Tree of Life, the 10 Commandments, that's what it's all about," said U.S. Rep. Richard Nugent (R-11th District), adding everyone who passes through town will know Brooksville is "about God and country."
The Brooksville Common has been funded by donations, and the project has received money from First United Methodist. Back in June, the City of Brooksville awarded a $10,000 redevelopment grant to the project.
Gary Wilson, a retired physician and core volunteer on the project, told Hernando Today earlier this year donors from as far away as Hawaii had purchased memorial bricks that will line the common's walkways.
"Fifty years from now, we hope people come and find pavers of their family members," Wilson said at the time.
First United Methodist Church Pastor Gene Maddox prayed Wednesday to "give vision to our leaders."
"I can only imagine how your work will be carried out on these grounds," he said.
Wilson said clearing and construction on the lot is set to begin this week or next. A dedication ceremony is tentatively planned for mid-December.
More information on the Brooksville Common is available by calling (352) 796-3363, or at http://fumcbrooksville.webs.com/brooksville-common.