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Poplarville city park construction continues despite vandalism

PARK DESIGN: While colors and layout are subject to change, the new playground equipment will make Poplarville city park more accessible for children with disabilities. Photo by Sullivan Enterprises

PARK DESIGN: While colors and layout are subject to change, the new playground equipment will make Poplarville city park more accessible for children with disabilities.
-Submitted graphic

Construction on the Poplarville city park suffered a slight setback last Thursday after vandals caused damage to fresh concrete that had been poured earlier that day.

“We estimate that around 5:30 p.m., some kids decided to play in the wet concrete,” said Poplarville Chief of Police Charlie Fazende, who added that police have no suspects, but the size of the footprints and handprints suggests children did the damage. Fazende said that there were a few larger footprints as well, and that the vandals might have had some encouragement from adults.

The damage done to the concrete was significant enough that the contractor will have to cut out the affected areas and re-do the work, said Fazende.

After discovering the vandalism, city officials debated closing the park entirely until all construction work was done.  Mayor Brad Necaise said that the project has a deadline of Jan. 19, 2015, but added that the city found a way to avoid closing the park full-time until the completion date..

“We believe the contractor will work most weekdays, making the park available on the weekends,” said Necaise.

Necaise said that the contractor working on the park unfortunately has an emergency that requires his attention, so the park will be open for two straight weeks starting Friday.

The project is in the process of making the city park more compliant with Americans with Disabilities Act standards through Community Development Block Grant funding. The renovations will include the addition of handicapped parking spaces, as well as sidewalks to the playgrounds and pavilions where there were none previously; the existing sidewalks will be improved to a higher grade, said Necaise.

The city is also adding new playground equipment for children with disabilities. Necaise said that the Pearl River County Board of Supervisors will be partnering with the city of Poplarville to contribute approximately $20,000 to the project. “The ADA playground rendering was designed and created by a committee of local Poplarville parents who have children with disabilities, myself, board member Shirley Wiltshire, and Mandy Smith, Pearl River County Hospital’s Pediatric Physical Therapist,” said Necaise.