Hamlet council calls special meeting for park improvements


By Christine S. Carroll - christinecarroll@s24507.p831.sites.pressdns.com



A lone swing set and a set of monkey bars make up the play area at South Hamlet Park. City Council members will decide today whether to upgrade the park with more equipment.


HAMLET — It’s a sad little park — four swings and a set of monkey bars that some people may not even know are there.

Which is why Hamlet City Council members have requested a special meeting to discuss refurbishing the rear corner of Larry “Jack” Breeden Park, at Lackey and South Bridges streets.

At the front of the park are two well-used soccer pitches. As for the rear corner …

The city took out two pieces of equipment last spring, as the result of safety concerns, City Manager Jonathan Blanton said Wednesday.

Also last spring, it rebuilt W.D. James and Memorial parks with $50,000 in grant money.

“I think that’s the deciding factor — we fixed two other parks,” Blanton said. “Fair is fair.”

The two newer parks now have bright, primary-colored equipment and shredded-rubber cushioning under their equipment. Breeden Park — or South Hamlet Park, as it’s commonly called — has two dark blue pieces of equipment anchored in patchy but well-trimmed grass. If more than about six children converged on it, it would be overrun.

The park sits across the street from a Head Start center and a church. It’s also within walking distance of a public-housing development, so its potential for use is high.

Council members Eddie Martin initiated the call for Thursday’s special meeting. A member of the South Hamlet community had buttonholed him one day “while I was down there, looking around,” Martin said. She asked why neighborhood children had no well-appointed place to play.

He had no answer for her. Was Hamlet waiting for another grant? Had it taken out unsafe equipment and just not replaced it?

“This, to me, is an urgent need,” Martin said. It was to have been on the council’s September agenda, but Martin worried that even three weeks would push obtaining new equipment too far into the future.

“If we put it off,” he said, “it’ll be ice and snow on the ground” and not grass.

Blanton has spent the past several days seeking examples of playground equipment and its pricing.

The special meeting will be at 3 this afternoon, in council chambers at 201 W. Main St. No other items are on the agenda.

A lone swing set and a set of monkey bars make up the play area at South Hamlet Park. City Council members will decide today whether to upgrade the park with more equipment.
http://www.yourdailyjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/web1_hamletpark.jpgA lone swing set and a set of monkey bars make up the play area at South Hamlet Park. City Council members will decide today whether to upgrade the park with more equipment.

By Christine S. Carroll

christinecarroll@s24507.p831.sites.pressdns.com

Reach Christine Carroll at 910-817-2673.

Reach Christine Carroll at 910-817-2673.

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