PHOTOS — Lakefront Park Playground, “To see something so beautiful and vibrant erected in its space is breathtaking”

Published 6:06 pm Thursday, November 16, 2023

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Simeon Queen stood back and watched Thursday as droves of youngsters from Wheatley School of Early Childhood Programs slid, swung, climbed and ran at the newly opened Lakefront Park Playground.

“This is a beautiful melting pot of Port Arthur,” Queen said. “It is love flowing. It is smiles. It is truly a privilege to be able to see.”

Queen, who is chairman of the Pleasure Island Advisory Board, called the new playground “evolution,” referring to the previous wooden structure, which had to be demolished for safety reasons.

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“To see something so beautiful and vibrant erected in its space is breathtaking,” he said.

Wheatley student Ezekial Dugas stopped from playing for a moment to say the slides are his favorite part of the playground. His mother, Rhonella Coles, said she will be bringing Ezekial and his siblings to the park.

The previous structure was called Fun Island Depot and was built as a replica of the old Kansas City Southern train depot that was once located downtown.

Kraftsman Commercial Playgrounds constructed the replacement, as well as the original structure.

Coles said she remembers coming to Pleasure Island when she was younger and playing at Fun Island Depot.

Pleasure Island Director George Davis said officials wanted Port Arthur children to be the first ones out at the park, hence the reason for inviting the students from Wheatley School.

Davis announced a water spray system is going to be added to help cool off children during the summer.

The new playground also includes a swing that can be used by an adult and baby/toddler and a saucer shaped swing, walking track, covered area with benches and rubber-like flooring.