Wiregrass Newsroom: Dothan residents wonder about the future of a popular park

This sign hangs at the entrance to what was the playground at Solomon Park in Dothan.
This sign hangs at the entrance to what was the playground at Solomon Park in Dothan.

Posted by: Melissa McKinney - bio | email

DOTHAN, AL (WSFA) - Alan Watson remembers when the empty space at Solomon Park was a playground filled with kids and parents.   Now he wonders what's next for his family.

"It would have been nice to have something ready to go before they just ripped up the old."

A few weeks ago, city officials removed the 15 year-old playground at Solomon Park saying it wasn't up to current playground standards.

"Our plan was to be sure they could play safely.   And when that became a concern we did what needed to be done," says Dothan Leisure Services Assistant Director, Kim Meeker.

If you go out to Solomon Park you won't find much except an empty playground area and a sign at the entrance telling folks the playground is closed due to safety concerns.

"It's pretty sad," says Alan.

City leaders say they wanted to remove the playground before anyone got hurt.   Alan says he didn't see that as a big issue.

"There were a couple little pieces where the boards had broken loose, but they quickly took care of that so I never really worried about it."

And now his main question?

"When's something new coming in?"

Leaders say it all depends on the budget.  Right now there aren't enough funds for another playground.  But Meeker says that doesn't mean it's out of the question.

"Leisure services is still very interested in a playground at Solomon Park," he says.

They're hoping money could turn up by the end of the year.

For now, Alan just waits, hoping a playground is in the near future to replace the pile of dirt.

City leaders hope to have a community build at the park when new playground equipment is purchased.   They say doing this helps offset the playground's $40,000 dollar price tag by 25%.

©2009 WSFA. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.