Martin Luther King Jr. Park in Sherman will be seeing more than $125,000 worth of improvements in the coming future. The Sherman City Council approved two contracts Monday for improvements and new equipment for the park.

The improvements will include a new playground and a pavillion added to the park in the coming months.

“That park gets a lot of use, especially in the summer months,” Parks and Recreation Manager Theresa Hutchinson. “Fred Douglass (early Childhood Center) uses it, soccer teams use it for practice and it gets a lot of use from neighborhood kids.”

The improvements will include the replacement of the parks three wooden pavilions with a modern duo-top pavilion similar to the one that was recently approved for the Sherman Public Library Park. Other upgrades will include new benches, playground equipment and a swingset added to the park’s amenities.

The city originally put the four improvements out to bid in late 2018, but chose to separate out the projects later based on favorable bids on individual items. Both approved bids were not the lowest that the city received, but were either the lowest bid that met the city’s requirements or a better deal than the alternatives.

The first contract was awarded to The Playground, Shade and Surfacing Depot, LLC of Keller for the pavilion and bench improvements. The firm was previously contracted by the city for the upcoming pavilion at the public library. Hutchinson said that the city received a discount on the pavilions by purchasing the two together.

“It may not seem like it, but it is there,” she said, amid laughs from the council.

The total cost for the pavilion was $60, 997, with an additional $1,290 for the benches. This was the second lowest bid for the work, with another estimate coming in at $45,415. However, documents for Monday’s meeting indicate that this bid did not meet the specifications that the city requested.

The second contract, for $64,018, was awarded to LEA Park & Play for new tree house playground equipment and a swing set. While the $57,031 bid for the tree house was not the lowest, it represented the best value to the city. Whirlix Design, LLC submitted two bids for playground equipment of different sizes with costs ranging from $40,345 to $60,345. However, both designs only featured seven place spaces.

While not as low as the Whirlix bid, Hutchinson said Park & Play’s proposal included 16 play places.

“It is a much larger play structure that will be lots of fun for the kiddos,” Hutchinson said.

Beyond the four improvements, the park will also see other work as a part of the project. The pavilion location will be raised to address current drainage problems, Hutchinson said. Some of the playground equipment will be replaced as a part of the project, but Hutchinson said several pieces, including some built in the early 2000s, are still in good shape and can still be used.

City officials hope the two projects can be completed as one single construction phase. Hutchinson said the pavilion has a 9-11 week manufacturing phase, which could allow enough time for the other projects to be completed.

The improvements will be financed using funds from the city’s Community Development Block Grant. These funds are provided to the city each year through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for improvements and projects in low-to-moderate income neighborhoods.