Magistrates to discuss upgrading VMP playground

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Phillips suggests buying equipment one piece at a time

By Calen McKinney

Some upgrades could soon be in the works at Veterans Memorial Park.

Magistrates will soon be asked to consider purchasing some playground equipment for the park.

On Tuesday night, members of the Taylor County Fiscal Court’s Planning, Parks and Recreation Committee met at VMP to discuss what needs to be done to prepare the park for the upcoming spring athletics season.

Magistrates Ed Gorin and Richard Phillips, who serve on the Committee, along with Taylor County Judge/Executive Eddie Rogers and Campbellsville Baptist Church Activities Pastor Justin McDonald, attended. Per a contractual agreement, CBC operates the park for the county.

Committee members discussed the need for new playground equipment when seeing the current equipment’s dilapidated condition. Phillips said he would like to see the playground once again become a place where children with special needs can play.

“To make the park more friendly to more people,” he said.

He said he realizes equipment can be expensive, so the county could perhaps buy one piece of special needs playground equipment at a time.

One piece he researched, he said, is a swing for those in wheelchairs. Total cost for the equipment is $937, plus shipping and installation. Phillips said another estimate for a larger piece of handicapped-accessible equipment came in at about $12,000.

Rogers said he agrees that upgrades to the county’s playground equipment are necessary.
“Really, we shouldn’t even be using some of it,” he said. After some discussion, the Committee agreed to have representatives from some playground equipment sales businesses speak to magistrates at an upcoming meeting.

Gorin said he, too, likes the idea of updating the playground. He said he wants to hear an estimate as to what that might cost before making any decisions. Phillips said County Road Department personnel could possibly help remove the old equipment and install the new items.

Rogers said the upgrades could be done in phases, if estimates are more expensive than estimated.

Phillips said he agrees, and isn’t sure how much money magistrates will agree to devote to the project. Rogers asked McDonald if CBC could contribute to the purchase. McDonald said he will ask other church officials about the request and report back.

Phillips said he is really concerned with the condition of the equipment and wants the playground to be safe. “I don’t think it needs to stay how it is,” he said.

The Committee also discussed who will be in charge of opening and closing VMP during the summer season, painting over some graffiti at the park and who will be responsible for mowing and removal of trash this season.

John Harris, former Taylor County Animal Shelter director, had been performing some of those duties. Phillips said he will discuss those issues with Taylor County Jailer Hack Marcum and see if inmates could help perform that labor.

He said he will report back to magistrates at their next meeting on Tuesday, May 14, at 6 p.m. at the Taylor County Courthouse. The meeting is open to the public.

McDonald said the park is in better shape this year than at this time last year. He said the church plans on preparing the baseball fields at the park soon for upcoming games.