Following the overwhelmingly positive reaction to its new downtown skatepark, the City of Dickson is considering building a playground in the same area.
At the Aug 15 Finance and Management Committee meeting, Mayor Don L. Weiss Jr. told city council members that the Parks and Recreation Department is looking into the possibility of building a fire department-themed playground next to the skatepark behind Dickson Fire Department Station #1 on Church Street.
Conceptual drawings presented to the city’s Parks and Recreation Advisory Board depict playground features resembling fire trucks, fire stations and other similarly themed activities.
Weiss told the committee the board is looking at the area next to the skatepark where the city purchased property that includes a former automobile body shop building. The mayor said the building would be torn down and the facility could include a pavilion and bathrooms.
In recent years, the city has applied for a Blue Cross/Blue Shield Healthy Places grant to build a playground and fitness area in the same spot. Those grants provide pre-designed facilities and require signage for Blue Cross/Blue Shield while the city has to provide a location that meets the required footprint. The city has been turned down twice for those grants.
“(City Administrator Rydell) Wesson and I started talking even before we got turned down for the last one that, if we got turned down the second time, we might ought to look at doing something ourself where we were planning on putting this Blue Cross playground,” Weiss said.
The city purchased the site of the former Alvin Jones Chevrolet dealership on the corner of Church and East College streets and built a new public parking lot. At the same time it purchased the property behind the fire station from Dan Evertson and in April opened the new skatepark.
“The old body shop building, which is really an eyesore in our downtown area right now…, we’ve looked at that building pretty extensively,” Weiss said. “The thing we noticed when we opened the skatepark was that when parents were bringing their kids to the skatepark, the younger kids who are not old enough to skateboard and all yet, didn’t really have anything to do. It’s amazing to sit there and watch how good the older kids are with the younger kids, but the more we saw that, we decided that it would be good to talk with the park board about removing that building there. We’d like to see a playground in that area along with a pavilion and a set of bathrooms there.”
Weiss said he believes it would be a good addition to the area and bring more people downtown for recreation and other activities.
“We have discussed the idea of a fire-themed playground in that area since the fire department’s right there and all kids like fire engines,” Weiss said.
Weiss said the preliminary concept would probably cost $400,000-$600,000.
The mayor said more detailed plans will be brought to the city council in the future.