SAM_0187Brittney Burns – Staff Writer

With school back in session and summer drawing to a close, the Macon County Board of Commissioners are just about ready to move on renovations at Wesley’s Playground. Hundreds of children and families frequent Wesley’s Playground throughout the year and as the most utilized park in the county, years of wear and tear have started to show, prompting Macon County Commissioners to mark improvements to the park as a priority in this year’s budget.

“Wesley’s Park is right in the heart of our county and there is rarely a time you go out there that it isn’t being used by the community,” said Macon County Manager Derek Roland. “This year we wanted to be sure to address safety and infrastructure concerns at the playground to ensure that children for generations can continue enjoying the park.”

While the approved budget doesn’t specifically include funds to repair the playground, Roland plans for that project to continue moving forward. “The playground is without a doubt one of most utilized facilities in the county, and we owe it to the citizens to ensure it is top notch,” said Roland. “We are already taking bids on playground equipment and repairs on the rubber matting and as those come in and I bring them to the board for consideration, as previously recommended, I would suggest looking at funding these one time capital improvement projects out of the county’s fund balance, which stands far above the state’s required amount.”

The rubberized matting at Wesley’s Park has been deteriorating in places and much SAM_0189of the playground equipment is broken and in a state of disrepair. While the county has been working since the spring to evaluate the damage and come up with bid packages to get quotes to fix the matting and purchase new equipment, county maintenance has worked to repair the equipment in the mean time.

Roland expects to have final bid proposals to county commissioners during the September board meeting next week, and with commissioners’ approval, will start the renovation project ahead of schedule.

“We knew we wanted to wait until the busy season at the playground was over, and with summer wrapping up and school back in, right now is the perfect time to move forward,” said Roland. “We know how much the park means to the community and want to make sure we don’t start a project that is going to close access down when it is still being heavily utilized and we also want to make sure we get started in time to finish before the weather warms back up this spring.”