Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local News

April 8, 2013

Grant to provide new equipment for Bluefield playgrounds

BLUEFIELD — Brand new equipment will be coming to three local public playgrounds in time for summer.

City Manager Jim Ferguson said the city will be renovating the East River, East End and Wayne Street playgrounds with brand new equipment.

“We are going to remove a lot of the existing equipment,” he said. “A lot of it is dangerous, inadequate or outdated. All of the equipment will be replaced with brand new equipment. We picked these three parks because logistically they are good locations and they are some of the most heavily used playgrounds in the city. All three of these playgrounds have a lot of neighborhood children who use them for activities.”

Ferguson said the renovation of the three playgrounds will cost an estimated $45,000, which will be covered by a grant the city received from the Shott Foundation for the project.

 “Implementation strategies in place for neighborhood parks include upgrading deteriorated playground equipment, resurfacing blacktop courts, and further develop our trail system. ” Ferguson said. “We are ordering the equipment from a company named Little Tikes, that makes playground equipment designed for commercial use. In May, the city crews will be doing mulching and landscaping but an outside crew has been hired to install the equipment.”

Ferguson said the goal is to have the new equipment completely installed by the time schools lets out of for the summer.

Renovating and improving local parks is one of the goals the city’s economic development team has set, Ferguson said.

“Parks and recreation development is part of our economic development plan,” Ferguson said. “The activities occurring within our city park and neighborhood parks are an integral part of our community. Our goal is to meet the community’s needs for recreation and other leisure activities within the city’s parks and recreation department. This is also a part of the Blue Momentum plan for parks and recreation. We felt the time and money were here for this project. ”

Ferguson said improvements to local parks are important for current and potential citizens.

“Parks and recreation are very important thing for our city and our citizens,” he said. “We want people to enjoy them. When school lets out for the summer, the kids need a safe place to play outside. When people move to an area — especially if they have children — they want playgrounds and good parks and recreation. They want to see what is available for their families.”

Additionally, Ferguson said the renovated playgrounds will benefit local children.

“The kids need things to do, to exercise and stay healthy,” he said. “It helps them be out with other children and learn to play together. This will keep our kids active and give them a fun, safe place to go.”

— Contact Kate Coil at kcoil@bdtonline.com

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