Simmons Center opens new park to public

Simmons Center opens new park to public

DUNCAN, Okla._After some setbacks following heavy rainfall, the Duncan Simmons Center is ready to celebrate Tuesday's grand opening of Centennial Park.

Over the past four years, officials have been working to overhaul the dilapidated park that was first installed 20 years ago. The new park was intended to open by the start of summer, but was delayed until the Fourth of July weekend.

The new Centennial Park cost $85,000, money that was donated by the community. Simmons Center officials say they are grateful for the safety and fun it will provide for years to come.

Centennial Park has been a popular spot since its opening on the Fourth of July weekend. Cheri Spurgin says her son, Cale, has just been itching to get outside. He was thrilled with what the park has to offer.

"My favorite part about it is when I go down the silly slide," said Cale Spurgin.

The park was built in the 1990s, and 20 years later, it was time for a change. Simmons Center Chairman Chuck Siess says three years ago, the condition of the aging park was brought to his attention by his 9-year-old daughter.

"She said, 'Well, the park's not very nice,' so we came out here and looked. I picked her up and she was right, I hadn't been out here in a couple of years," said Siess.

Siess says the old wooden structures that were in place were too dangerous. He says rotted and splintered wood created a safety hazard. However, he says tearing down the old park was bitter sweet.

"It crushed me. I had her birthday party out here when she was two or three, so you know it was a part of her life," said Siess.

Siess says he'll always cherish the memories of the old park, and looks forward to creating many more with his family while allowing others to do the same.

"To see it come together is amazing, and to know that your daughter kind of had something to do with it, you know that's pretty special to me," said Siess.

"Just having a blast. He loves being outside and playing, it's a beautiful day for it so we are just enjoying it," said Cheri Spurgin.

Though the park is open and ready for everyone to enjoy, Simmons Center officials still plan on making some additions to the park, including a couple of donor walls thanking those who contributed to the new park and remembering those who had a hand in building the first one.

A ribbon cutting ceremony will take place at the park starting at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday. Hot dogs and water will be provided. It's open to anyone who wants to attend.