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City of Abilene taking steps to replace damaged playground at Sears Park

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(City of Abilene)
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People that come to Sears Park haven’t been able to use the playground equipment since it burned down earlier in 2023. However, with the city finally taking the first steps to replace that old equipment we talked to several people who visit Sears Park and got their reaction to the good news.

Johnnie Bradshaw has been visiting the park for years and told us, “I think it’s a good idea because a lot of little kids come to this park, and you know it’s a good activity and I think that’s a good idea”

While Mark Estrada revealed that the park just hasn’t been the fire, “It means a lot for me and my wife because we used to bring our grandkids and let them play in the playground but since it burned down, we haven’t gone anywhere. So, it would be good to get started to help bring the kids back.”

Several parts of the playground were torched back in January but after the Parks and Recreation Department held a public meeting for residents to hear their voices, it brought forward a new design and message: Crime won’t win.

The early concept design for the new equipment is similar to the playground that went in at Rose Park last year, the hope is to give the new place ground a sense of inclusivity, according to Parks and Rec Director Lesli Andrews,

“You know, whether you’re in a wheelchair, whether you’re autistic, deaf or blind it has something for you. It has the ability for anyone to play there and be able to play together and engage with each other. So the fact that they chose the playground, just shows the need here in Abilene.”

The Abilene City Council still needs to approve the final design before any purchases can be made, and it could take up to a year to replace all the equipment, the people we talk to who use the park believe it’s a good step in the right direction.

APD also confirmed to us that they do have a person of interest connected to this arson case, but they are currently in the Taylor County Jail on unrelated charges

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