When summer arrives, children of Denison could have a brand new playground in Forest Park. The Denison Rotary Club is hoping to make that happen, Rotarian Jessica Duce, who is working on the project, said.
And something else exciting is about to happen in Forest Park. Sunny Mackey, director of Denison Parks and Recreation, said that the city has just been approved by the Texas Historical Commission for a Texas Historical Marker for Forest Park. It is hoped that the unveiling of the marker and the opening of the children’s playground will coincide.
Remember all those bricks that are coming up downtown on Chestnut Street? Well, they are going to a good use as well as a couple of other projects being sponsored by the Rotary Club.
Let’s back up a year to when the Denison Rotarians gave Denison a commitment of $100,000 for the playground that will include a water pad to be located at the corner of Crawford Street and Fannin Avenue in downtown’s Forest Park.
Half that amount was raised last year with a raffle and a golf tournament. Now Rotarians are at work raising the second half of their commitment.
First scheduled is the Denison Rotary Club Charitable Foundation Golf Tournament to be held May 6 at the Denison Country Club. Participant fees to the Denison Rotary Foundation are 501 (c)(3) charitable contributions. There will be hole in one prizes, raffle prizes and teams will be handicapped. Registration is limited to the first 22 paid teams, so it’s time to get busy making plans to have a day of fun and make a big contribution toward the children’s park. Contact Jessica Duce at First United Bank in Denison 903-813-5891 or Nate Pike at 972-742-7668 and they can tell you all about it.
Now, back to those Chestnut Street bricks that have been part of Denison’s history for 100 years, more or less. I’ve searched but haven’t found the exact date they became Chestnut Street’s roadway.
For $3 each, the bricks can be purchased individually or in pallets of 300 bricks for $500 if you have a project that you want them to be included in. They will sell a pallet to you if you just want to sit and look at it. They are available at the residential collection center off Highway 84 — 300 West FM 84 is the exact address. Some of the bricks already are there and more will be added as they are removed from the street.
Eight lifetime sponsorships also will be available to businesses whose names will be lasered into the flooring of part of the new park for permanent display. Those sponsorships are for $5,000.
A brochure will be mailed in March with the city of Denison water bills, and golf applications already are available.
The playground will become the only totally ADA-accessible park in Denison. Even the swings will be ADA. The park will include a splash pad with water shooting up for the children, including those in wheelchairs, to play in.
There will be both a railroad emphasizing Denison’s founding by the Katy line, and a Denison High School Yellow Jacket tie-in at the park with a child size black and yellow train for children to play on. A table for children’s parties or for picnics will be found in the center of the park between the water pad, the playground equipment and the swings.
Mackey said this week that after speaking with the contractor on the project, a start date is being looked at for Feb. 13 to give the engineers a little over a week to draw everything up and put the job on a good pace in relation to the playground being completed.
The job is to be finished in 120 days after the signed date which should put the opening late in May. Weather permitting, it could be sooner. The flat work and concrete foundations will be the first thing that will be seen so that it can be ready to set the equipment up when it arrives, Mackey said.
Meanwhile, work continues on the Chestnut Street project. Volunteers jumped in when the call went out to help clean thousands of bricks that have been and will be removed to complete the street work. The city is hoping to help preserve a part of Denison history in the bricks that had paved the street for so many years.
Now’s your chance to participate in saving that bit of history by purchasing bricks at a minimal price, or a whole pallet of them for a special project. You can also become a lifetime sponsor of a project that children of Denison can enjoy for many years to come. It’s a worthwhile cause and the Rotary Club is to be commended for spearheading the drive.
Donna Hunt is a former editor of The Denison Herald. She lives in Denison and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.