GARLAND — If plans stay on track, children in Garland will have an outdoor area to play and enjoy themselves near the center of town.
Before a Friday work session, it was announced that land near Garland’s post office will be donated for the construction of a new playground. The 1.39 acres of property on South Bladen Avenue was donated by Connie Cain Rackley, the daughter of former commissioner an business man Curtis Cain. During the meeting, Mayor Winifred Murphy called Rackley who shared the good news with the commissioners via speakerphone. Rackley will have naming rights and the town will have to pay for legal matters.
“Other than that, it’s free and clear to the town of Garland and I’m very happy to do this,” Rackley said.
If the town decides not to use the land as a park in the future, ownership will go back to Rackley’s heirs.
“I hope that you can do this and get this up and going soon,” Rackley said. “I’m ready to sign the deed when it’s ready.”
Following Rackley’s remarks, commissioners showed appreciation for the offer to help benefit the children and citizens of Garland and approved the donation of the property and other stipulations that came with. Before the vote, commissioners assured Rackley that she will be proud of the outcome, which was also initiated by Commissioner Judy Smith, who oversees parks and recreation in Garland.
Recently, town leaders worked to form a committee to bring back the sport. Smith said the park was something residents wanted to see happen for children too.
“We knew that was something that community would like to see happen,” Smith said.
Smith stressed that water and sewer matters are priorities and needs, but it’s important to focus on the “wants” as residents as well.
“It these little things like parks and softball that get’s you excited,” Smith said. “You have to have a mix of some these little wants to counter so many of those needs. I think the town of Garland is accustomed to the commissioners supplying their needs.
“But with the park and softball, it’s kind of like they’re getting some of their wants. That’s always a good thing. The public always need to see their tax dollars going to something they can enjoy.”
While scouting for land, she was contacted by another property owner, but she said Rackley’s land was better suited for the project.
“This one is ready to move into almost,” Smith said. “I was just beyond our wildest dreams.”
The estimated cost of the playground project is between $10,000 and $12,000.Following deed preparations and land preparation such as a sprinkler systems, the plan is to refurbish playground equipment which was leftover when Head Start left town. Smith said everything is in good shape.
Smith and Murphy said work may begin before the end of summer or before it gets a little cooler in the area. Some of it included moving the upgraded playground equipment in the lot.
“Before cold weather, the children will be able to go out there, swing and play on the equipment,” Smith said. “That is my goal …”
During the meeting, there was also discussion about adding fencing and swings.
“No park is complete without swings,” Smith said.
After it’s constructed, one goal is to add more equipment each year. But currently, the aim is to start with necessities on the land which will be named after Rackley’s father.
“That is just a wonderful thing,” Smith said. “He was someone very well known to our area.”
Like Smith, Murphy is looking forward to seeing children playing in the park.
“It will be a tremendous asset for our children and I’m sure the citizens will enjoy taking their children about it,” Murphy said.
Reach Chase Jordan at 910-249-4617. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.