A new name, a new playground and a new vision for the future.
All three were celebrated last week as the City of Booneville formally announced plans for the construction of a nearly $750,000 new playground supported by a grant of $400,000 from Plumrose Corporation.
Mayor Chris Lindley said the new playground, which will replace Kids Town, will benefit residents for years to come. In recognition of the company’s gift to the city, the park will now be known as Plumrose Park.
“In thanks to Plumrose for what they’ve done for the city of Booneville, from this time forward the city of Booneville will no longer refer to this park as West Side Park. This park will now be known from this day forward as Plumrose Park,” said Lindley.
Aldermen have approved matching the grant from Plumrose with $200,000 accrued from the park and tourism tax and additional funds from city reserves.
The new facility will be much larger and include three main play areas with modern, safe, state of the art equipment on a poured-in-place rubberized surface. The open concept design will allow parents to easily see their children as they play and will include wheelchair accessible equipment and inclusive play areas to ensure all children are able to play. The project also includes upgraded pavilions.
Plumrose Plant Manager Tony Dalcour said the company is proud to partner with the city on the project.
“The biggest thing is to leave a lasting legacy. To be able to put something in place where we build and invest in our youth is going to be beneficial I know,” said Dalcour. “In my travels throughout the U.S. I’ve seen projects like this be very fruitful and I know it’s going to be the same for Booneville.”
The mayor said it’s taken the support and commitment of all city leaders including aldermen and the park commission to join together in the vision for the future and he praised the board of aldermen for their role in supporting the project.
Lindley also honored the community-wide effort that created Kids Town in 1997.
“I want to thank and acknowledge the people that built kids town. It was a wonderful event. The people from the city and the county came together to build this thing. It’s been an amazing place for kids to come and enjoy for many many years,” he said.
The wooden playground was expected to last around 18 years. This marks its 23rd which the mayor said is a tribute to the quality of construction and to the countless hours spent on maintenance by the park department’s employees.
The idea for a replacement for Kids Town began three years ago as the then-new mayor said he heard from residents who were concerned about its condition and future. The city began looking at options to finance the enormous costs of building a modern and safe facility. When Plumrose reached out to the city about partnering with them on a project, Lindley said he knew exactly where the funds could be put to work.
Lindley said the new facility will be a part of the city’s recovery from the pandemic.
“When we start to recover from COVID, we need a place for our children and our people to come and start to social gather again,” he said.
Also under construction at the park is a new entrance sign featuring an LED video screen supported by two brick pillars and topped with a sign featuring the Plumrose Park name.