Tallahassee residents celebrated the opening of a new playground and other beautification efforts on Feb. 15 at Fort Braden Community Park.
Fort Braden Community Park, which is adjacent to Fort Braden Elementary School, has two Little League baseball fields, a multipurpose field, and a concession building. Park-goers can now enjoy a newly installed playground featuring interactive educational panels and climbing components designed to develop hand-eye coordination, as well as a smooth surface that allows all levels of ability to join in on the fun.
According to Leigh Davis, director of Leon County’s Parks and Recreation, the playground construction took nine to ten months to complete. The concession building also received a facelift that included new paint, a newly redesigned sign and more seating for park-goers.
“The park provides a great opportunity for our families to disconnect from all of the stresses of school, work, and everyday duties. It gives them the ability to recreate and fellowship with one another in an enjoyable space,” Davis said.
Leon County officials delivered the promise of a new playground after years of requests from Fort Braden community members. Kristi Walker, a community resident and president of Fort Braden’s Little League, has been working with the community for over ten years.
Walker, who oversees 12 to 13 Little League teams, expressed her amazement of the beautification improvements to the park. “I’ve lived here my whole life, and I’ve never seen this place look this good,” she added. “My entire family is most excited about the playground. It’s been a long time coming, but thanks to Jimbo that we finally got it.”
Jimbo Jackson, the county commissioner for district two and principal of Fort Braden Elementary School, grew up in the Fort Braden community and is thrilled to offer the children in the community a safe and fun place to keep them engaged and out of trouble.
“With the ballfields being here, it’s only natural to have a playground for the younger kids. Parents normally have several kids when they’re coming out to practices and games, so it offers the kids a healthy, recreational alternative while their older brothers and sisters are playing games,” Commissioner Jackson said.
Although spirits were high at the unveiling, Commissioner Jackson, along with the other county officials expressed their grief with the recent loss of former Leon County Commissioner Jane Sauls who died late Wednesday.
Sauls served her community for over 20 years and was instrumental in the Fort Braden community development projects, including the Fort Braden Community Center and Jane G. Sauls Fort Braden Branch Library.
“What you see here today is the direct work of our Commissioner Jane Sauls. Although this playground is a great addition, none of this would have been possible without her fighting for district two,” Commissioner Jackson added. “What a wonderful day to celebrate the work that she did for our community.”