KILGORE, Texas (KLTV) - East Texas children will soon have a new inclusive playground to enjoy. The third and final day of construction of the Friendship Playground got underway Wednesday at Harris Street Park in Kilgore
Project Leader Stacey Cole, who is also the director of the Kilgore Public Library, said the project has been three years in the making.
It started in 2017 when the Kilgore Chamber of Commerce partnered with local businesses to create a leadership group. The playground became the project for which the group decided to raise money.
“Since it took so long, and it took a long time to raise the money, it could be disheartening at times,” she said. “But it’s really, really amazing to see it actually come together. Looking at something on paper and in renderings and drawings it’s really hard to tell what it’s going to be. It looks better and bigger than I ever imagined.”
Cole is proud of the work the community has put into the project, including volunteers from Republic Services, Edward Jones and the City of Kilgore.
“Especially with everything that’s going on and all the setbacks that people are experiencing. We’re really excited for this, for our community because I know parents are looking for things to do. They want to get outside, and we don’t have any other playgrounds in the city of Kilgore quite like this one,” Cole said.
The next step is to have someone come out and pour in place rubberized surfacing. Cole said that is expected to be done in the next few weeks.
Friendship Playground is expected to be ready for a ribbon cutting and grand opening at the end of August.
Cole said the playground will be a place for children from Kilgore and surrounding communities to come and play together regardless of physical ability.
“Anyone can play on it no matter if they have any medical or physical limitations. There’s something for everyone and even parents that may have limitations with their mobility, they can get on and play with their children as well,” Cole said.
Emily Arp is a member of the leadership group behind the project. She said the playground meets a need in the community.
“I wanted to be a part of this project because there was a need in our community and we as a team came together,” Arp said. “We looked at all the different projects that were available to us, and this fulfilled multiple needs from different organizations and we as a team came up with this idea.”