In Bluffton’s Dubois Park playground, there’s a giant wooden ship.
Not to be outdone, the Field of Dreams playground at the nearby Oscar Frazier Park will likely soon include a new train for local children and families to enjoy.
The addition to the playground is just one element of a series of planned improvement at the park, spearheaded by a partnership the town, the Bluffton Rotary Club, and 2017 class of the Hilton Head Island-Bluffton Chamber of Commerce Leadership Program.
Other plans for the park facelift — which is expected to begin early next year — include a new picnic pavilion with restrooms, a walking trail encircling the park, space for formal events such as weddings, a splash pad with fountains kids can play in, and improved landscaping.
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The open space for youth sports in the middle of the field will remain, according to conceptual plans.
“There are so many young families and young kids around here, and we just decided that we needed to do more at the park,” Dot Jeger with the Bluffton Rotary Club said Thursday. “I think it’ll be great; we’re really excited.”
The first phase of the improvement project will be the playground, which will be upgraded with new turf and equipment.
The play train planned for the site won’t just be any old locomotive, but one modeled after the caboose-shaped barbecue restaurant owned by the 14-year-old park’s namesake, Oscar Frazier.
Frazier’s nephew, Kenneth Frazier Jr., a member of the chamber’s leadership program, said Thursday, “We wanted the new playground structure to tie into the theme of the overall park and into the fabric of Bluffton.”
Leadership program member Melanie Thomas said the goal is for the train structure “to be comparable if not larger” than the boat at Dubois Park.
Kimberly Morris, also with the leadership program, said, “This park has so much potential that’s underutilized.”
“This is already a really neat place,” she said. “We’re just hoping to make it even better.”
The rotary club has set aside about $45,000 for the project and will soon partner with Bluffton town leaders to attempt to identify grants that could help pay for the estimated $1 million improvement project. Members of the chamber’s leadership program plan to the fundraising party in the park this fall.
Construction on the new playground elements is expected to wrap up by late April, and the other elements of the project will be begin as funding becomes available over the next several years, Jeger said.