The Duncan Banner
Despite the cold temperatures, there were several members of the community gathered at Kiddieland in Fuqua Park Wednesday morning to celebrate the completion of the new surrounding fence.
As a collaborative effort between the Leadership Duncan Class XVI, City of Duncan and the Duncan Kiwanis Club, which has run the Kiddieland for more than 50 years. Much time, effort and money was given toward this makeover for one of Duncan’s most beloved locations.
“All of us have stories of Kiddieland,” said Chris Deal, Duncan Chamber of Commerce president. “I stood in line for the inaugural ride on the Tilt-A-Whirl.”
Generations of children passed through the gates of the old chain link fence which surrounded the rides. It is the hope that many more generations will now pass through the new black steel bar fence.
“It was a team effort and the Kiwanis Club appreciates everyone involved,” said Phil Britton, president of Duncan Kiwanis. “It’s going to look really sharp come spring time.”
Contributions from many sides made the project possible. Leadership Duncan Class XVI graduated in May 2012 and immediately began working on raising money and getting work lined up. Along with the several monetary grants and donations, what helped get the fence up were the donations of labor.
“Dana Stanley and his parks crew came in and cleared out all the underbrush,” said Curtis Thornton, class project leader. “If we’d had to pay someone to do that, this would have never happened.”
Stanley told the crowd it was a privilege to work on the project and he was proud to be a part of it. Ricky Mayes, who put the fence in place for a much lower rate than normal, said he had similar feelings about the project.
“I’m honored and I love Kiddieland,” he said. “I’m a parks person.”
Kiwanis members are so pleased with the outcome, they have decided to have the annual Christmas Tree Sale within Kiddieland this year instead of the previous location at Elk Plaza. The sale will be from Nov. 26 to Dec. 15.
“I’ve been in the Kiwanis Club here for 35 years and this is the most help we’ve ever had,” said Johnny McFatridge. “It looks amazing.”
More improvements are still on the way. In the spring, Carolyn Rodgers with Duncan Beautification will be planting several crapemyrtles in and around the park. The plants are fitting because Duncan is known as the Crapemyrtle Capitol of Oklahoma.
“Tourism is the third largest economical income in Oklahoma and Stephens County has moved up two spots from last year to number 16 in economical spending,” said Loisdawn Jones, Duncan Convention and Visitors Bureau executive director.
“This saves taxpayers money and allows for a higher quality of life. I’m very pleased to be a part of this.”
A special part of the project is a commemorative sign that will be installed at Kiddieland’s entrance, which will feature names of several current and former residents who have enjoyed the park’s fun throughout the year. It is estimated the sign will be put up in about a month.