Ocean Springs parks get post-Katrina makeover

Published 8:16 pm Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Nearly 15 months after Hurricane Katrina, children in Ocean Springs have spiffy new playground equipment because of a fundraising effort that collected $100,000 in 100 days.

Mayor Connie Moran reopened Martin Luther King Jr. Park and Playground and the LeMoyne Park and Playground on Sunday, and children eagerly tumbled onto the new facilities.

“I play here all the time and it looks different,” fourth-grader Zauvier Joiner said at the King park.

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The Rebuild Ocean Springs Committee, established after Katrina struck in August 2005, raised money to give each park new equipment, fresh paint and new mulch. LeMoyne Park also received new benches.

Committee chairwoman Julia Weaver said a contribution of James and Ruth Crook made it possible to raise $100,000 in 100 days. Of that, $75,000 went to the city’s Parks and Recreation Department.

“They really wanted to help children recover from the storm,” Weaver said. “Every child in Ocean Springs has lost something, and these parks will help us all get past that.”

Gloria Hughes said she’s glad to see the changes at the King Park.

“It’s about time,” Hughes said while holding her 17-month old granddaughter, Tynia. “I remember this park from when I was a kid and there was nothing like this out here. We had just a couple of swings with wooden seats. A lot’s changed and changed for the better. Kids need a place to play and stay out of trouble.”