Mayor: Land too soggy for playground at lake

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 24, 2015


A number of people were expected to attend Florala’s council meeting last night to protest the location of a new playground.

Mayor Robert Williamson said when the playground was designed and the equipment was purchased, city leaders had no idea the control of Lake Jackson Park would be returned to the city.

“We looked at the lake,” Williamson said. “Everybody (on the council) is in agreement, we’d love to have a playground or playground equipment on the lake.”

But there are many reasons, he said, the location would not work.

“The main thing is, the park equipment has an 80 by 40-foot footprint,” he said. “The only place at the lake it could possibly fit is to the left of the Rodney J. Evans Building where there is a grassy lot.

“The problem with that location is it’s very mushy,” Williamson said.

Lake Jackson is rainwater fed, so by design, water stands there.

“It is the nature of that location is for the water to flow to it,” he said. “The 3,200 square feet of safety material that has to go underneath.”

If the safety material is under water for long periods of time, it will not only mildew and stink, but also will become damaged.

“The playground designer has told us that standing water inside the cylinders expedites rusting of the product,” he said.

“We have had multiple rain events when it was soggy down there, and when the water rose toward (Hwy.) 85.”

Another factor, he said, is that the last four projects done at the lake were vandalized within two weeks of being installed.

“At the (old) armory, it’s less than a block from the police department, maybe it won’t be,” he said.

The park is being constructed primarily with private money. The city has received $102,000 in private donations; $5,000 from a state agency; $2,000 from the county commission; and $1,000 from the Rec Board.

The council pledged $7,500 in fiscal year 2015, and $7,500 in fiscal year 2016.

The issue was not on Monday night’s agenda, but Williamson said he would gladly give those who opposed the park location an opportunity to speak.