GARLAND — Town officials are continuing to move forward with plans to build a park in downtown.
During a recent meeting, Commissioner Judy Smith presented an update on the construction of Curtis D. Cain Memorial Park. Some of the work includes placing borders around equipment and laying mulch for fall surfacing. Those steps were approved by the Garland Board of Commissioners.
A swing set was recently donated for the project.
“It will be finished at that point,” Smith said about the work.
It was reported that the mulch will be similar to the type Sampson County Schools uses for its playgrounds.
“The playground rules say that it has to be 12 inches deep to create the fall surfacing necessary,” Smith said.
Although it was mentioned that the project is nearing towards completion, an official date or opening ceremony has not been established yet. Summertime was mentioned as the previous target.
In March, the Board of Commissioner approved the foundation for the park. It allows the town to accept donations from individuals, businesses and organizations. About a month earlier, the first piece of equipment was installed. Last year, officials agreed to renovate Head Start’s abandoned playground equipment.
Some of the previous work includes installation of lights and a sprinkler system.
The estimate cost for the first phase of the project is between $10,000 and $12,000 for the property on South Bladen Avenue. Connie Cain Rackley donated the 1.39 acres of land near Garland’s post office. The upcoming park is named after Cain — a former commissioner and business entrepreneur.
In addition to adding more playground equipment, some of the other long-range plans included a basketball court, picnic area, an walking trail.
Chief search continues
Garland officials are still searching for a chief to lead their up-and-coming police department.
Commissioner Ralph Smith reported that a candidate from White Oak will be interviewed for the position. The town has advertised several times to receive a response from candidates.
Garland operated a police department until June 30, 2008, but ended because of financial issues. Law enforcement duties were later turned over to the Sampson County Sheriff’s Department. Garland ended the contract in June after the department requested more funding. The amount was $113,000.
To help with the establishment, Bobby Kinlaw, former police chief of Elizabethtown, was hired in August to provide consultant services to Garland. Prior to his arrival, a a 2010 Dodge Charger and other equipment was purchased.