• 64°

New facilities ready in time for summer

The patrons of Bethel Park are now going to find some welcomerelief.

Ever since the inception of the park, Ward Three Alderwoman MaryWilson has lobbied for funds to put a public restroom in the park,and finally, the project is done.

“I am really glad, I’m so glad that I just really don’t knowwhat to do,” she said. “I’ve been trying to get them down thereever since the playground equipment came in.”

The project took much longer than anyone would have expected, inpart because of the cost of building bathrooms. At the end of 2008,the board took bids on the project, and the lowest bid came in at$96,896 for both Bethel and Bicentennial Parks. The city had setaside $40,000 to cover both parks.

Almost a year later, when Mayor Les Bumgarner set up his list ofgoals for 2010, the bathrooms were once again on the list,alongside other things as big as bringing the Mississippi School ofMath and Science to Brookhaven.

Meanwhile, Wilson just held to the hope that the idea would soonbecome a reality.

In April 2010, Brookhaven Recreation Department Director TerryReid said he had located bids for around $24,000 each, where thecity had allotted $15,000 per bathroom. He pointed out thatbathrooms could be put in at one park this year and the other nextyear.

So Friday morning, Bumgarner, Reid and Wilson gathered toformally open the new restrooms.

“I’m glad they finally got them complete,” Wilson said, thankingother city officials, her community, and Bethel Park Church, whosold the land on which the park was built.

And the completion of the bathrooms is a blessing to thecommunity because so many people use the park, Wilson said.

“I go through there every other evening, and I see the kids onthe swings, and they’ll come down the slides and play in the rocksand stuff,” she said. “There are teenagers playing basketball, andthings. They’re really enjoying it.”

Wilson also said she was glad to have gotten the toiletsinstalled before summer hit full swing.

“Some of the parents said when the children get off the busthey’re already just ready to go to the park,” she said.

But the progress at Bethel Park hasn’t stopped, Wilson said.

“I’m just real glad and thankful we were able to get it done,”she said. “We’re also going to pave the parking lot on both sidesof the park, and we’ll get some of those trees cut back that arehanging over the fence, and plant some more grass.”