ALTUS, Okla. (TNN) - Altus community leaders say a new playground that was unveiled Monday will bring a new level of hope to kids who live and play in the area.
Previously, Southwest Park simply had a slide and a swing-set, both of which were dangerous and in desperate need of repairs. Residents say that the area the park is located in has had problems with crime in recent years but they’re hoping the new playground can spark a change away from that.
"It brings hope to the area, to the community. The kids are really excited that there is something new, something fresh, somewhere for them to run to and just hang out. It's a safe place and they're really excited,” said Ruben Ybarra with Strong Tower Ministries.
The park sits at the corner of South Blaine and West Pecan. It’s surrounded by houses, as well as churches.
"There’s 4 of them in this neighborhood and a lot of kids that walk in this area. We want them to be able to have a place to stop and play and have a good time,” said Altus Parks and Recreation Director Freddy Perez.
The new playground cost $41,000. It has been in the works for several years to help clean up an area that residents say has had some problems.
"This area does involve a lot of shootings and crime, stuff like that. With something new, it brings light to what some people may say is a dark place. We’ve been in ministry for 7 years now in this area. That’s been our mission and we are so excited the city is on the same mission we are on,” said Angela Ybarra with Strong Tower Ministries.
The new playground is just the first of several changes to the park that the City of Altus hopes will make life better for the entire community.
"This is their town, this is their park, and to be a part of something, everybody wants to be a part of something they can call their own. So, these kids in ward 3, not just ward 3, all over the city of Altus, they’re happy. This first step will make a lot of kids happy,” said Altus Ward 3 City Councilwoman Roberta Brady-Lee.
Going forward, Perez said they will continue to make changes to the park, including potentially adding more canopies and fixing up the basketball court.