The Rotary Club of Sherman and the city are partnering to replace aging playground equipment in city parks. As part of these efforts, city crews recently installed a new set of equipment at Cherry Street Park.
The new equipment, designed for children ages 5 through 12, was made possible through a $10,000 donation by the Rotary Club and marks the second time the club has helped bring new equipment to Sherman.
“Over the past few years, we’ve been working to remove the outdated equipment from our parks,” Parks and Recreation Manager Theresa Hutchinson said. “Last year, they also donated and installed equipment at Hawn Park.”
The new equipment at Cherry Street will have traditional playground favorites, including multiple slides and climbing equipment with a tropical theme. The theme was chosen when the Rotary Club was presented four options on playground equipment, Hutchinson said.
Wally Johnson, secretary and president-elect for the Sherman Rotary, said the two donations for Cherry Street and Hawn parks are a part of an effort by the club to provide amenities for children in parts of the city that often go without.
“Basically, what we are trying to do is provide equipment on the east side of Sherman,” he said. “We know it doesn’t always get the same attention as others.”
Johnson said the funds were raised through the Sherman Rotary Foundation, which has also provided scholarships to local students in the past.
“This was a different facet of what the foundation does,” he said.
The base of the playground equipment will be made from steel with the slides and other pieces made from plastic, the Parks and Rec manager said. The materials should be durable and give the equipment a long lifespan, but Hutchinson said she did not know how long they were expected to last.
Hutchinson said the pieces that have been replaced in recent years were well past their expected lifespan and were not up to current safety standards for playground equipment. She estimated that some equipment was 50 years old, if not even older.
The outdated pieces are spread out across the city, with individual pieces in need of replacing in several parks — with Hutchinson something like a metal merry-go-round, as an example.
Hutchinson anticipated the Rotary Club could make another donation next year that will allow for additional equipment to be updated. She noted that no discussions have taken place on locations yet, but added that the club has shown a preference for parks in low-income areas.
The playground installation should take about two weeks to complete, Hutchinson said. One of the delays comes from a piece that was not shipped with the rest of the equipment, she said.
Johnson said the Rotary Club plans to hold a ribbon cutting ceremony for the equipment, but a date has yet to be set.
Michael Hutchins is the Herald Democrat’s local government reporter. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or @mhutchinsHD on Twitter.