A recent donation will help bring planned playground improvements to fruition at Bergfeld Park.
Two local churches — Grace Community Church and Green Acres Baptist Church — have agreed to help fund improvements to the park’s playground. The $75,000 donation, which will be considered during today’s Tyler City Council meeting, is being made on behalf of children in the Gospel Village mentoring program, Stephen Wickliffe said.
Wickliffe, missions pastor at Grace Community Church, said the project includes a complete rebuild and expansion of the Bergfeld Park play area.
One of the cool features, he said, will be net climbers.
He said children also will be able to go in between the levels of the playground using slides, and there will be natural boulders for climbing.
Among the other planned features are new swings, a merry-go-round and a toddler play area, according to a news release.
Wickliffe said Grace Community and Green Acres have been involved in forming Gospel Village and wanted to provide a centrally located, safe place for program mentors and mentees.
So the idea, he said, was to help redesign a playground at one of the city parks.
Grace Community Senior Pastor Doug Clark said the churches then began trying to build a community connection and get more churches involved.
“We want to include more churches in that. We want to help them get involved in things like Gospel Village,” he said.
Clark said the goal also is to create a playground environment that is inclusive of all races and cultures, where people can learn from one another, and to do the project as a community build, where various churches and individual community members would help build the playground with a supervisor on site.
“That will be an interesting way to draw churches into the program,” he said.
He hopes hundreds turn out to work on the project during its construction.
Green Acres Senior Pastor David Dykes said he is excited about the playground improvements and believes it’s good anytime that churches come together for the community.
“We exist for the community. We just feel like God has called us to minister to the community,” he said.
He added, “I just think it’s a win-win for the community and for the churches.”
Don Warren, chairman of the Bergfeld Park Improvement Project, said the park’s master plan is being done phase by phase, with the first phase being the playground installation.
The equipment, he said, is projected to cost about $285,000, and money will continue to be raised so that equipment can go in during the first part of the summer. He estimated that one-third of the funds has been raised thus far.
Warren said the second phase of the park improvement project will involve focusing on Broadway Avenue landscaping, as well as signage and improvements to "Splasher," the dolphin water feature.
Also included in the master plan, he said, is tree trimming and picnic pads, improvements to the tennis courts, improved lighting and ultimately renovations to the amphitheater.