By Les Smith, Park Board (February 29th, 2000, Red Oak Express)
This next series of park spotlights will feature “the neighborhood” parks located around the city. What qualifies as a neighborhood park? An area of a city block or less and when your kids tell you that they are going to the park, you know exactly where they are going. So the park spotlight asks you to enjoy a “beautiful day in the neighborhood” as we spotlight Wilson Playground.
Not to be confused with Wilson Park (located at the end of Birchwood Ave), Wilson Playground can be found at the corner of Sunnyslope Drive and Green Willow Lane. When the Sunnyslope area was being developed, Charles Wilson believed an area should be held back in order to create a park for the children in the burgeoning neighborhood. After a piece of land was chosen, the area residents chipped in a put up wooden structures for climbing and Mr. Wilson maintained the grounds.
In September 1986, the park department assumed the responsibility of mowing the park. On Aug. 13, 1998, the park board officially took over ownership of the park when the deed to the land was transferred.
New playground equipment was to be installed in early spring of 1999, but Mother Nature played havoc with the schedule. It either rained or it was too hot to handle the equipment. But finally on Aug 5, the window of opportunity opened and the equipment was put in the same day. After the concrete bases were allowed to harden, the area was blocked and fall material laid down. No sooner was the sand dusted off the hands then the kids were climbing on the equipment. Seeing this sight makes the effort and the time spent worth the wait.
On Aug. 17, 1999, a concrete bench (donated by Charles Wilson) was placed at the park. Thanks to the generosity of Mr. Wilson, parents can sit and watch their kids play for hours. And as they sit, they might remember the words to the old Louis Armstrong song, “What a Wonderful World.” Seeing the joy and happiness on their children’s faces could make those words and this experience even more heartwarming.
The park board encourages one and all the be a good neighbor and visit Wilson Playground, as well as the other parks Red Oak has to offer.