By Adam Smith
The North Jefferson News
While the fall and winter months generally bring a slow-down for most municipal park employees, the opposite can be said of Gardendale.
Work is scheduled to wrap up this week on two projects — a renovation of the Moncrief Kiddie Park and the completion of a pavilion at the city’s new splash pad at Celebration Park.
Stan Hogeland, superintendent of Gardendale’s Parks and Recreation Department, said the Kiddie Park renovations began in the late summer and included repainting and repairing aging playground equipment to give the park a fresh look.
“The park was built in the late 1970s and we’ve added equipment, but some of it is the original equipment,” he said. “It had started looking so bad that we were either going to have to replace some equipment or do some heavy fixing up.”
Some other changes will also be made to the park within the coming months, including replacing the pea gravel around the equipment with the softer wood carpeting surface that is used at Celebration Park.
Hogeland said the construction of Celebration Park on Fieldstown Road and the splash pad which opened in the fall has helped to take some of the wear and tear away from the Kiddie Park while giving families another location to take children to.
“Celebration Park is new and modern and can hold it’s own against any other parks in the state,” he said. “The kiddie park remains important because you have the three pavilions and lots of natural shade that make it popular for family reunions and events.”
Parks and recreation employees were scheduled to have the finishing touches completed on a pavilion at Celebration Park on Friday. Hogeland said before the pavilion construction was completed, the city was already taking rental reservations for the spring and summer months. The city has also talked to local businesses in an effort to secure a sponsor for the pavilion.
Other changes in store at Celebration Park include a recent $750 grant from Alabama Power to plant trees at the park.
The parks and recreation department is also working on the future Miracle League field at Luman Harris Park. As of this week, concrete for the concession stand has been poured and the grading on the field is 90 percent completed. Hogeland said he was confident he would be able to secure a contractor for the sub-surface asphalt before year’s end.
The Gardendale City Council voted earlier this week to reject bids on a soft artificial playing surface that will be installed over the asphalt that will decrease the risk of injury to special needs children who will use the park. A new set of bids will be opened at the Jan. 5 council meting.
Hogeland said the parks and recreation department will also start preparing for the spring sports season in mid-January with practice beginning in February.
For more information on the parks and recreation department, visit gardendaleparkandrec.com.
By Adam Smith