Sportsman Lake cuts ribbon on new playground

Cullman Parks and Recreation cut the ribbon for a new playground at Sportsman Lake Park Friday. (Sammy Confer/The Cullman Tribune)

CULLMAN, Ala. – A ribbon cutting was held at Sportsman Lake Park Friday morning for the brand-new playground. There was plenty of people and kids on hand to see the special event unfold. All of the refreshments and hot dogs were free. 

Cullman Parks and Recreation Director Doug Davenport talked about the process that they went through to get the new playground done and the new equipment that they have for the kids.

“We have had some issues with the other playground. It wasn’t safe for the kids, so that’s where we started looking for other ways to get some grants and everything to get this new piece of playground equipment,” Davenport said. “It had been here for over 30 years. It was a safety issue and a need for a bigger piece of equipment as well.”

Doug added, “From the time that we first started getting the grants to getting the equipment, it was probably a little over a year since COVID slowed the process down there for a while. It was supposed to have been delivered in November, December of last year and I think it was April of this year when it got delivered. It took them two weeks to install it. From the time that it took dealing with the state to the grants and everything, it was probably a little over a year to get everything done. This piece of equipment here is supposed to have 85 kids at a time play on it. It has different activities from the drums to the slices and all that. It’s been a huge success so far.” 

The kids are happy to see a new playground at the park and that was what Doug wants to see. He also talked about how much it will help the community even more and bring even more kids to the playground.

“They’ve been blowing up the cell phone, wondering when it was going to be ready and finished so they can get on it,” Davenport said. “We had to wait until we got the sand around it and everything to make it safe for them to come off the slides and not hit the hard ground. They’re excited about it.”

Doug added, “I think a lot of kids will come. A lot of people are excited. They grew up on the old piece of equipment here and they want to be here. My grandkids are here, so that’s something that I’m pretty excited about.”

Marie Johnson gave her thoughts about the new playground and how much this will help the kids within the community.

“My daughter really wanted to see the big scissors cutting the ribbon,” Johnson said. “I think this will be a great addition. It’ll be good. The kids are going to enjoy it. Having extra equipment, I think, will have more things for the kids to do instead of everybody getting crowded on those structures. It’s new, so it’s exciting at the beginning. It will draw more people in. I like it. I think it’s going to be great.”

Cindy Hulsey’s kids were very excited to come to the new playground as well.

“Oh my gosh, they were talking about it the whole morning and when we were pulling in, they were just screaming in the car. They were squealing, so excited,” Hulsey said. “They all said how much better it was than the last one. I’m really excited about the new playground because it appeals to many more ages; they can all play at the same time.”

Cindy hopes to see more kids at the playground and believes that the new facility will be a positive for the community. 

“I think, for one, making a nicer park really showcases how nice the community is,” Hulsey said. “I think it’ll help bring families in to be able to do more things in town and free and cheap things too. It’ll also boost the local economy because of the food stamp and the train. It just gives some families either free or cheap fun things to do together this summer, especially with prices of everything else being so high.”

Katie Horton gave her thoughts on the new playground and talked about how much the kids love it. She’s happy to see something new at Sportsman Lake Park. 

“We love this park. It makes me proud. It’s a great part of our community. All of the other parks have been updated, so this is kind of bringing this along with it,” Horton said. “We love this park and I’m glad that it’s being updated. The kids were really excited. We’d been planning to come to the opening for a couple of weeks. They’d been looking forward to it a lot and they were not disappointed.”

Katie added, “It’s great. It’s really exciting. A lot of old equipment was kind of geared for smaller children. It’s so big, I feel like my 10-year-old is more engaged playing on this than she was on the other playground equipment. I think this will help bring more kids in.”

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