Dream Park officially open for children’s play

Published 12:01 am Friday, November 12, 2010

After months of careful planning and four days of extremely hard work, the Andalusia Dream Park renovation was officially revealed Thursday.

Dozens of children ran happily across new shredded rubber mulch, screamed from atop ladders surrounded by handprint tiles and trounced on 20 new components installed during the renovation process.

The 1,200 square-foot addition showcases a handicapped-accessible swing that can hold up to four wheelchairs or eight able-bodied children, and even Mayor Earl Johnson and a host of dedicated Dream Park volunteers tried it out while waiting for the day’s ribbon cutting ceremony.

The project, which was organized as part of the city’s Homecoming 2010 civic project, was estimated to cost $115,000, said project organizer Kristy White.

“Right now, we’re a little over budget with a total of slightly more than $120,000,” White said. “Everyone who has committed to help with contributions has already turned their money in, but we’re going to be about $10,000 short to pay for everything.

“So, there is still a need for donations,” she said.

Alyssa Lane was one of the first in line for ice cream after the ribbon cutting ceremony at the Andalusia Dream Park | Stephanie Nelson/ Star-News

It took a team of 160 volunteers working daily to rehab the park, and work is not yet finished, White said.

“We’re going to be redoing the names on the old handprints and resealing them because they’re fading,” she said. “We were very lucky to get sponsors for our last two components – a ball pass and a finger maze – thanks to the Andalusia Junior Women’s Club and Andalusia Manor.

“Those two didn’t arrive in time for the build, so they still have to be installed,” she said. “We do still have some handprints and 27 pickets left to install, so if you don’t see your child’s, don’t panic.”

White said there are also plans to “paint some color” inside park and to install new nameplates on the components.

Cash or check donations can be made payable to City of Andalusia – Dream Park, and can be dropped off at Superior Bank, LBW Community College or the Andalusia Area Chamber of Commerce.