Middlesboro receives grant for park improvements

Published 4:38 pm Friday, July 5, 2019

The City of Middlesboro received a grant that will go toward pour-in-place playground pads.

“About February we discovered grants for either crumb rubber made from old tires and they put it in playgrounds or what they call a pour-in-place playground,” Middlesboro Mayor Rick Nelson explained. “You put it under swing sets, slides, walkways and things.”

Nelson explained that the padding is kind of cushioned but it’s tough enough to walk on and wheelchairs can even access them.

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“It’s used for looks but importantly, it’s used for protections for falls and stuff,” he said. “We applied for the grant and lo and behold, we were awarded close to $65,000 for the grant.”

On Wednesday, Tami Phillips, a representative with Miracle of Kentucky and Tennessee, visited Fords Woods Park with Mayor Nelson and Street Department Superintendent Kevin Barnett to discuss the next steps in having the padding installed.

“Kevin has to do some prep work,” the mayor explained. “By prepping it, he will have to remove the sand out of all the playground pads. They’ll come in and pour it down, and it will have to dry. When it dried, it will be an indestructible surface.”

They mayor said he prefers the pour-in-place padding because in most areas parks are using sand.

“Sand is ok but this stuff is weather resistant and it will stay dry,” he explained. “It’s environmentally friendlier than concrete or a gravel pathway, sawdust, woodchips or rubber.”

He explains that there will be five pads poured at Fords Woods Park.

“We picked it to start with because we consider it our biggest park and had more potential for people to use it,” he said. “I think it will help the looks of the playground.”

Barnett will get started with removal in the upcoming weeks.