Metro government and the Olmsted Parks Conservancy broke ground Tuesday on planned renovations to Tyler Park in the Highlands, one of several investments recently made in parks around the city.
Through their cooperation, construction has begun on $1.1 million dollars worth of improvements to the park including a new playground, spray ground, resurfaced tennis courts, a basketball and pickle ball court.
Olmsted Parks Conservancy President Layla George said most of the funding comes from the conservancy, but about $280,000 comes from the city’s coffers.
George said Mayor Greg Fischer’s budget also included funds to make Tyler Park accessible for everyone.
“So in his recent budget that he submitted to Metro Council he included funding to install a wheelchair ramp so that once this project is finished people will be able to cross safely from side to side,” she said.
Tyler Park is just one of a number of other parks that have recently received, or are undergoing renovations.
Shelby Park recently received $50,000 in improvements in a new music trail featuring outdoor instruments, George said. Additionally, the most recent budget includes $75,000 to make the park’s playgrounds wheelchair accessible, she said.
However, a recent YouTube video highlights some of the problems that still exist at Shelby Park including broken water fountains, dirt piles and issues with bathrooms.
George said the public bathrooms are an issue at several parks. People try to live in them, and people have even broken through the doors to get in, she said.
“We have even had someone who changed the locks themselves at Shelby Park recently so that has been an ongoing struggle,” George said.
Still, many of the city’s parks have benefited from recent upgrades. Fischer said new playgrounds are being installed or were recently installed at Boone Square, Algonquin and Elliott Square Park.
The Bonnycastle Pavilion at Cherokee Park was completed last fall and upgrades are underway at Victory Park including a new playground, spray ground, a new addition to the lodge and some new trees, Fischer said.
Back at the groundbreaking for renovations at Tyler Park, Neighborhood Association President Kristen Millwood said the upgrades have been a long time in the making.
“It is so exciting. We have waited and waited for this day to come, and just held onto the funds and wanted to be able to use them. It’s a gorgeous day, It’s spring and we couldn’t be happier to be starting these renovations right now,” Millwood said.