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Park starts to take shape

Courtney Schexnaydre’s coworkers like to visit Pilot Point’s Old City Park to decompress during their lunch hour.

Lou Torres likes playing basketball at the park, which also has been a place for children to play for years.

After about five-month respite from the park, folks may continue to do those activities when the park reopens early next month. City leaders plan for Old City Park to reopen with a celebration in on Aug. 5.

“It’s been in the works since the end of 2015,” said Alice Holloway, city secretary. “It’s been mostly just paperwork.

Now, actually seeing it come together, it’s just absolutely amazing. We had so many kids stop by while we were putting it together. There were plenty of questions, and of course, I helped them as much as I could, and they were very excited

“I think this park is going to make a big difference not only to the kids but even the adults,” she said. “There are going to be several things over there for everyone.”

Volunteers and staff from a playground company were at the park two days last week helping install new playground equipment and features and doing other work on the property. A separate construction crew worked on a restroom facility. Volunteers worked in the rain on one of the days the playground structure was put in, Holloway said.

At the park, located east of The Square, a pavilion has been transplanted from Groff Park and a splash pad will be installed. The park also will contain a butterfly garden and park bench – which came from a Keep Pilot Point Beautiful grant worth $1,500 – and new lights will be installed.

The roofed pavilion can be rented for birthday parties and other events. The parking lot was redone, with one spot designated for handicapped parking. Park hours will be set by the city.

“It’s going to be awesome,” City Manager Alan Guard said about the park, adding that renovations were on schedule.

The park project began in 2015, when Texas Parks & Wildlife Commission approved a grant proposal from the city, worth $75,000. “We did a park master plan during this process, and we did a survey throughout the city, and we got over 500 surveys returned that gave an idea of what everyone was looking for,” Holloway said.

The city budgeted $263,000 for the park, which includes the Texas Parks & Wildlife grant, $25,000 from the Pilot Point Economic Development Corporation, and the rest from the city.

Playground structure costs – parts and labor – were $35,795. The playground surface will be $21,200, which also includes labor, and will be installed on July 10 and is underneath the playground structure.

The splash pad will be delivered on July 17, Holloway said. The basketball court’s renovation will be done by August.

Donations were given for the park project, including $2,500 from PointBank, $1,000 from Texas-New Mexico Power and money from jurors from the municipal court, Holloway said.

Stephen Shepherd, design manager with Noah’s Park & Playgrounds in Edmond, Okla., who was in town with two other employees June 27-28, said his company does business all over country but has a focus on Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas and Kansas, where it sends installation crews. “This is what is called a supervised installation, where we come down and show volunteers how to do it and that allows for the installation of the overall project to cost less for the city,” he said.

Torres, who lives in Pilot Point, said he helped unload, unwrap and piece together the playground equipment.

“I just did whatever I could because I’m in construction,” he said. “In fact, one of the owners of the company asked me if I would be interested in putting some of those together for them. I said we’ll talk about that later because I’ve been in construction all my life. I’m 55. That’s pretty much all I’ve done – project management and just building stuff.”

Torres, who has lived here two years, said he likes doing activities that benefits residents. Elizabeth Jones, who lives in Pilot Point, also helped unwrap the equipment and painted some equipment. She looks forward to seeing park reopening, and even though her children are grown and won’t use the park, the park’s facelift is something she has been wanting for a long time. “And just to finally see it happening, it’s exciting,” she said. “I was like a little kid myself out there when I saw what it was looking like. And so, it’s fun. I love it. I was thrilled to be part of it.”

Schexnaydre said her company, Agricen Sciences, has been in Pilot Point for a long time and wanted to do something to help the community.

“We have a building here, and no one knows what we do,” she said. “So this was our effort to try to expand more into the community and try to develop stronger roots

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