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Court buys playground materials for Thornton; OK’s Jenkins lights




Construction is expected to begin soon on a new community park at Thornton.

The Letcher Fiscal Court voted unanimously last week to spend $23,439 on children’s playground equipment for the park, which will be located on property owned by Tom and Pat Gish. The park will also have a paved walking track, a basketball court, a horseshoe pit, and a picnic shelter.

Legacy Playground Equipment of Somerset submitted the low bid to supply the Pinocchio model playground for children from 2 to 12 years of age. Parks and Recreation Director Derek Barto told the court he is satisfied with Legacy, which has sold the county equipment for other parks. Barto said the equipment can be installed easily by county workers.

A bid to supply playground equipment was also submitted by David Williams and Associates, an Alabama company which also specializes in playground supplies. The Gametime Model from Williams was recommended for children from 5 to 12. After accessories already included in the Pinocchio model were added in, the Legacy bid was the lowest. District Two Magistrate Archie Banks told the court that the Pinocchio Model was the first choice of a committee of Thornton residents who will help oversee the park.

A preliminary agreement calls for the Gishes to lease the roadside property to the court for one dollar for each year the site is used for a community park.

In another matter dealing with parks money, the court also voted unanimously during the special meeting to use $10,000 in unspent coal severance tax money from last year’s Parks and Recreation Fund for lighting at the Jenkins High School softball field.

Assistant Jenkins softball coach Rick Damron, who is also a member of the Jenkins City Council, requested the lighting during the court’s regular March meeting. Damron, who is also an electrical engineer, said he and other volunteers could make the $10,000 go a long way by doing most of the installation themselves. He said that not only did the Jenkins Lady Cavaliers softball team use the field, women’s college teams from Alice Lloyd College and other schools use it as well. High school regional playoffs have also been held at the field, Damron said.

Magistrate Banks told the court he was impressed with the manner in which Damron made the request and recommended the court allocate the funds.

“Rick Damron came in and asked us to do it,” said Banks. “He asked the right way.”

In other business, the court voted unanimously to allow Judge/Executive Jim Ward to begin the process of purchasing a small bulldozer for county use.

Ward told the court that county road workers could have used a small dozer the last time the county suffered flooding, and that there were a number of projects which need dozer work now. Ward recommended buying a bulldozer similar to a Caterpillar D4 or a John Deere 650. Banks endorsed buying a John Deere, saying he prefers its transmission. Banks criticized the Cat D4 as being too heavy, but Ward said the high track drive arrangement on the Cat would serve the county well in certain situations.

County Attorney Harold Bolling told Banks and Ward the court would need to set bid specifications that would allow proper comparison of the two pieces of equipment.


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