City accepts grant for Savannah's Playground upgrades

City accepts grant for Savannah's Playground upgrades

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - One of the most popular playground in the Grand Strand is getting an upgrade.

Savannah's Playground is only a little over a year old, but thanks to help from the state, some needed additions are now set to happen.

"I like how there's stuff for different ages, like the smaller stuff over there, and the bigger stuff over there and medium over here," 7-year-old David said as he watched his younger sisters play.  "I love all like the big slides and, like, the monkey bars and stuff over there."

No matter the age, many people agree Savannah's Playground is the place to go for kids to burn off some energy.

"It's worth the drive for my 20-month-old twin boys. They can play on so many things here and it's very, very safe, especially if they need to fall or something like that," Steve Stradtman, who comes to the playground with his boys from the Grande Dunes area, said.

Stradtman is one of many parents and children who've contributed to the playground's overwhelming success. It opened in July 2016 as the area's first sensory-friendly and special needs-friendly playground. Mark Kruea, spokesperson for Myrtle Beach, said the city didn't realize it would be as popular as it is with the community. Because of that, bathrooms that weren't originally built now they will be.

The city accepted a $100,000 grant from the South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism Tuesday to pay for restroom facilities and a recreational splash pad.

This grant was first awarded in the spring, but it just made it on the city's agenda to approve, according to Kruea. It will have to be matched with a $25,000 contribution from the city.

Ron Andrews, Myrtle Beach's special projects manager, said he thinks the $125,000 will cover all of the costs for bathrooms and the splash pad. Renderings have already been drawn.

Parents and kids at the park Tuesday were excited about the news.

"There doesn't seem any place for children to use the restroom, and I know when you're a young mother that's so important to know where the nearest restroom might be," Mary Hope Funkhouser said as she watched her granddaughter, Grace, play.

The younger one was more excited for the splash pad.

"It'd be really cool and it'd be really fun to play in because it's always really hot," Grace said.

Fellow parent Meg Perrino was also excited about the park's upcoming additions.

"That is the best news ever because no one wants to take their child into a port-o-potty, and the rec center isn't always open or available, so that's wonderful news," she said. "I'm very excited about."

However, parents said they hope for the fencing to one day be completely enclosed for safety reasons.

"There's an opening back at the back where kids could go out. There's no gate there. It'd be nice if it was fully enclosed. I think that would be a huge benefit," Perrino said. "There's room to enclose it around here and I think that would be very important for the kid's safety."

Andrews said if there's money leftover from the bathroom and splash pad funds, he thinks it will go to additional fencing.

If not, he said that will be a future project once the money can be set aside.

There's no timeline for the additions, but Andrews said bids for the construction projects should be out in about a month.

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