Renovations to Fondren Park (currently Cherokee Heights Park) are well under way.  The dry weather has allowed the contractor, Harrell Contracting Group, to proceed quickly. Fondren Park is located at the corner of Dunbar Street and Northview Drive, and for many years has provided a great neighborhood green space with lots of room to play and mature tree for shade.  Fondren Renaissance Foundation, with support from the people of Fondren, the City of Jackson and Hinds County, has received a $588,000 federal grant to renovate the park and add wonderful site amenities while still keeping the original feel of the park intact.

The improvements to Fondren Park will include a quarter mile walking trail, site lighting, water fountain, picnic/performance pavilion, playground equipment, playing field, park benches and picnic tables.  In addition, the Foundation is making plans for a community garden at the park.  Both the Fondren Renaissance Foundation and the Park Planning Committee have worked hard for many years to plan a park that will encourage and accommodate different types of outdoor activities. A place to have a picnic, or sit and read a book under one of the shade trees, play a game of football or throw a Frisbee, get some exercise walking on the trail, bring children to play on the playground equipment, meet with family and friends, or have a neighborhood performance at the pavilion.

When designing the park, the Park Planning Committee was committed to the long-term effects of the park on the community, the city and the environment.  For example, recycled rubber is being used for the walking trail and as a protective surface under the playground equipment. The concrete block walls, concrete siding and metal roofing materials being used for the pavilion will require very little maintenance and will have a long lifespan.  A 1000 gallon rain barrel is being installed to catch and store rainwater from the pavilion roof for use in the community garden, and bins are being placed throughout the park for recycling.

Construction at the park is on schedule and within budget, with the initial phase to be completed mid-November. This phase will include the pavilion, site lighting, water and concrete portions of the sidewalks.  The remaining construction will be completed in December and will include the rubber walking surfaces, installation of the playground equipment, benches and picnic tables.

UPDATE 12/9/10: Please see the latest on the community build scheduled for Thursday – Saturday, December 16-18.

Originally written for Fondren Renaissance Foundation's Winter News