• 64°

Getting a facelift… Kiwanis Park getting ready for new playground equipment

BY IVAN SANDERS
STAR STAFF
ivan.sanders@elizabethton.com
Out with the old and in with the new.

The Elizabethton Parks and Recreation Department has been hard at work the last four days getting the Kiwanis Park playground cleaned, leveled, and ready for new playground installation which is looking to be completed by the first week of November if all goes as planned according to Maintenance Supervisor David McQueen.

Due to a generous gift by the Richard Tetrick family, the Park and Recreation Department has been able to move forward quicker than anticipated in updating the park’s playground equipment with a state-of-the-art playground layout.

“I am very appreciative of the Kiwanians and Tetrick’s on the donation of the playground,” said McQueen. “It was a long time coming here.

“We were able to put the swing set in and do a few other things and of course, they were very instrumental in the new pavilion but they came through on this project because you are talking roughly $90,000.”

Even though the park renovation is in early stages with dirt being moved to level the ground to the required specifications, local residents have already taken note of the work and excitement is building quickly.

“The kids are going to be totally impressed,” McQueen added. “In fact, this morning we had a woman come sit at the fence with her little two-year-old who just sit there watching it being done so I took a drawing of what the playground is going to look like to them and he just started jumping up and down with excitement tickled to death.”

It is no small task in getting the grounds ready for the new playground to be installed.

McQueen said that 19 tandem loads of dirt had been hauled in to help level the area out by the City of Elizabethton. Also, McQueen has been on the phones making sure that everything is on schedule and hoping for a completion time around the first week of November if everything works out as planned.

“We picked up the corner almost three feet on this lower corner to where it would work out,” McQueen commented. “I talked to the delivery today on it and they are running about a week behind so the equipment will be delivered not next week but the following week.

“I also talked to the installer today and he said it would be probably about two to two and a half weeks and he would be here and he said he would hopefully be out of here within a week and be done with everything.

“My goal right now is I would like to see it put in the ground within a month.”

McQueen was very appreciative of the team effort that has been given to making the new playground a reality.

Garrett Johnson, who is the Assistant Park and Rec Director, was on the Bobcat leveling the dirt that had been brought to the site while Matthew Balogh with the Elizabethton Engineering Department stopped by to help shoot the lay of the land to make sure it was falling into specification.

McQueen said that Johnson had no experience on the Bobcat besides what he had done around his home but was doing an amazing job and that they were fortunate enough to have his invaluable help.

It didn’t take long to see the excitement in McQueen’s eyes about the new playground being installed.

“This is going to be amazing,” McQueen said. “The Elizabethton Electric System came out today and there was a light pole that stood here – I have been with the park and rec 31 years, 35 including my part-time and to be honest with you that light pole has been here since I have.

“They pulled it this morning and put us in three new security floodlights to shine in on the new playground. They will be lit up tonight.”

McQueen went on to add that the playground is just one of many things that are in the works through the Park and Rec Program and none of it could have been accomplished with an overall team effort.’

“I do think COVID threw everything including the world behind, but the City Council and the City Manager and Mike Mains (Director of Elizabethton Park and Recreation) went out and fought for us and things have stepped up.

“Park and Recreation is growing. We have more and more tournaments every week. League play is going on – it’s just great.”