Spring-like weather has arrived in Sulphur just in time to usher in the latest in the Sulphur Parks and Recreation family — Maplewood Commons.
The $1.5 million addition to Center Circle Park in the Maplewood section of Sulphur is just about done, according to SPAR Director Steve Gayfield. Honing aesthetic amenities is currently underway as part of the final portion of the project. No date has been set for an official opening, but if you have been by the Commons, you’ll notice it’s just about ready.
“We need about two to three more weeks of work out there before it’s complete, and of course, weather permitting,” Gayfield told the Sulphur Kiwanis Club Wednesday at noon. “We’re a little bit past our target date due to all the weather issues we’ve had dating back to last summer. The good news is we’ve been able to catch up. It’s mostly landscaping that remains.”
SPAR wanted to design Maplewood Commons on a smaller scale of The Grove at Heritage Square. The park’s two fountains are operational and feature a circular fountain similar to those located at The Grove, as well as a rock wall fountain that gives the park a little different look on the eastern side.
Maplewood Commons is located between the existing Center Circle Park and Maplewood Middle School and Maplewood Elementary. One of the features will be two walking paths and a pavilion.
Gayfield is hoping the location of the park will give Maplewood children an alternative for after-school activities. “Most kids are looking for something to do when they let out of school. We’re hoping they choose to hang out at the park,” he said.
The Commons will be a pet-friendly park and Gayfield also mentioned that there could be free wifi located at the park, as is the case at The Grove.
Part of the landscaping project includes the location of live oak trees. Safety is paramount to SPAR as well. Gayfield confirmed that there will be security cameras located at the park, which will officially close at 10 p.m. — the same as all other parks under the SPAR umbrella.
The existing Center Circle Park has undergone some improvements of late as well, with more plans in the works for the future.
The basketball court received some upgrades and Gayfield said they are contemplating what to do with the aging public pool located at the park. He also said the pool will remain open and is a vital tool for offering summer swimming lessons. “Those swimming lessons are important and those classes are usually booked up each year,” he said.
As of now, plans for an official opening ceremony of Maplewood Commons has not been set in stone. Gayfield also mentioned that SPAR and its board are looking at other sites that will receive improvements. One of those is Carlyss Park, which will be receiving a facelift in the future. The park will have two new picnic shelters and one or maybe two walking paths. There will also be drainage improvements made there.
Spring’s arrival means that the countdown is on until the SPAR Water Park is open for business in May. Gayfield said there are no plans for immediate expansion to the park, but that’s always a possibility from year to year. “We added two new slides last year and we want to have that under out belts for a while before we address anything else,” he said.
One thing Gayfield is adamant about is luring in more local residents to the Water Park. As of now, the bulk of the visitors at the park are from out of town — including a larger contingent of visitors from Texas. “We’re thinking about maybe having a resident day each week or offering discounts to residents so we can get more of our local people to the park.”
Gayfield also wanted to remind the public that SPAR is once again hosting the Louisiana High School Athletic Association state softball and baseball tournaments this spring at Frasch Park and McMurry Park, respectively. The fast pitch softball championships will be held April 26-28, while the baseball tournament will be held May 9-12.