The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

October 13, 2013

Anonymous donor helping revamp Carmen park

By Robert Barron, Staff Writer
Enid News & Eagle

ENID, Okla. — An anonymous donation will bring new life to a park playground in Carmen that has been used by generations of children.

No toys have been added to the playground at Carmen City Park since the 1920s, except for chamber of commerce additions more than 25 years ago. But the donation will enable the town to bring new toys to the park, which will be used along with the older ones to make it more fun for children.

“An extremely nice gentleman wanted to purchase a new structure and gave an anonymous donation. He sent a check to the playground equipment company,” said Therese Kephart, Carmen town clerk. “I gave him a couple of options and he picked one, sending a check to the company for the equipment. The company will install the equipment for $10,000, but they will bring supervisors, tools and the equipment to install it for $2,200 per day.”

Kephart thinks with volunteers from the town, they can erect the equipment in one day. The toys currently are being shipped from Pennsylvania to Oklahoma. They are scheduled to arrive in Oklahoma City today, and the company will bring them to Carmen for installation on Oct. 28.

The new toys will be part of a large uniform unit with about 20 stations, each with a different toy. The town needs a 25-by-42-foot site to place the equipment.

Margaret Goss, a resident who in the past has helped organize park cleanup, said the equipment is well-made and she expects it to last “quite a while.” She said some type of surface has been considered for the bottom, perhaps rubber, but that decision has not been made.

Kephart and her family went to the park one day last summer to clean and paint park benches. The Carmen Fire Department then washed and repainted all of the old playground equipment, and on July 5, kids lined up to slide down the tallest toy. Kephart’s children go there twice a week.

“I’ve been town clerk 101⁄2 years, and this is the most interest I’ve seen in the park for a while,” she said.

Kephart also credited Goss for helping organize park cleanup. Goss held a large garage sale and gave the proceeds to the park fund.

Goss said the idea of improving the park has been talked about for years, but this summer, the firefighters sandblasted the pool and park equipment, and it got people talking. Goss has been researching the park and realized the equipment was installed between 1922 and 1925.

“I know people who are in their 90s saying they played on it when they were kids. It’s been quite a while,” Goss said.

Goss’ children played in the park when they were young and she has relatives who go to the park every day. A number of people have called her with their own stories of times they spent at the park, everything from breaking bones to overcoming a fear of heights.

Putting the structure together has become a community event, she said, adding, “Ladies are fixing lunch.”

“Therese Kephart has really been a gunner,” Goss said. “Her kids play down there a lot and she has coordinated with the company, and helped get things coordinated.”

Kephart is ecstatic about the project.

“This will be awesome, one of the coolest things that’s happened in my 10 years,” Kephart said.