Gilbert-Stepheson Park in Fort Oglethorpe is about to undergo some big changes to its playground.

In May, the City Council approved just over $580,000 from its general funds to purchase new equipment to replace the current playground equipment that was installed between 1995 and 1997.

Construction will begin in October with improvements to the drainage in the playground area. The playground materials and equipment are slated to be installed in November.

The new playground will include a wide variety of slides and swings (including plenty of swings for babies and toddlers), climbing bars, ramps and other play equipment, and there will be access for those with disabilities in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

A couple of special features, says City Manager Jennifer Simpkins, will include composite rubber surfacing on some of the playground area and an outdoor workout area for adults.

Simpkins says the new design will not change the walking track around the playground, the picnic pavilions or any other part of Gilbert-Stephenson Park.

“This is exciting,” says Fort Oglethorpe resident Janine Weppler. “I used to take my sons there in the 1980s, before the current slides and swings were even there. It’s a very popular place for families in Fort Oglethorpe. I guess it’s time for some updates.”

Tamara Wolk is a reporter for The Catoosa County News in Ringgold, Ga., and Walker County Messenger in LaFayette, Ga.

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