A playground in Central Park in Southaven is about to get a major facelift.
The Board of Alderman gave the go ahead to Mayor Darren Musselwhite to sign a contract with Great Southern Recreation of Murfreesboro, Tennessee to spend $100,000 on a new playground.
Musselwhite said the upgrades to the equipment that will be installed will be comparable to the Field of Dreams special needs playground, which was built in 2019 in Snowden Grove.
“It is a very nice and expensive playground because of the size of the park and volume of users,” Musselwhite said.
Musselwhite said the city routinely replaces playground equipment in its neighborhood parks, but the idea for the need to upgrade the playground at Central Park came out of a discussion in late 2020 with residents.
The 116-acre Central Park is the largest and one of most heavily used parks in Southaven and features a walking trail, disc golf, playground, picnic areas and other amenities.
Musselwhite said the city has a neighborhood parks budget line dedicated for replacing playground equipment, maintenance and upgrading the walking trails. The parks department sent out a request for proposals (RFP) for the upgrades.
“(Parks and Recreation Director) Wes (Brown) and our parks department has done the RFP on this to get the maximum we can get for the $100,000 that we had budgeted,” Musselwhite said. “So it is the recommendation that we award this and get that playground installed as soon as possible.”
Parks director Wes Brown said this is the second time the city has used Great Southern for a park project.
“They did the Field of Dreams for us,” Brown said. “By far, theirs is just a more substantial proposal. They have a really good flow and they use the space more efficiently as far as the design goes.”
The new equipment will include slides and Jungle Gym type features geared towards children ages 5-12, and will be installed within the current 229 foot semicircle.
Brown said the current playground equipment is about 15 or 16 years old and was in need of replacement.
“Central Park is by far the largest and busiest,” Brown said. “So it is beyond time we replaced it.”
Brown said the park should be completed within 90 days.
“Manufacturing times are just insane for everything right now,” Brown said. “I am hoping maybe by June 1 we will have it in.”