The Texas sunshine will soon grace new playground equipment at Pioneer and Pecan parks, as work at Pioneer nears completion and construction at Pecan could begin Monday.

Construction at Pioneer Park began about two weeks ago, and the new playground equipment is slated to be open in the next few weeks, weather permitting.

“A month ago, I would have said, ‘It will be open sometime in June,’” the city’s Community Service Director Brian Bray said. “Now, we’re kind of narrowing it down.”

However, just because the equipment is up and may be enticing to a naive eye, it will not be open until officially announced by city officials.

“We will announce when (the playground equipment) is open, because if we have a playground with no mulch in it, it isn’t safe to play on,” Bray said.

Until then the newly installed equipment will be blocked off with tape.

Sitting among the shade of the many trees that encompass Pecan Park on Thursday was a large, smooth rectangular area of dirt surrounded by two large piles of mulch where the new playground will sit. The new playground equipment will be just south of the pre-existing equipment that is closest to the parking lot along Starr Avenue. The only existing playground equipment that will remain are swing sets and two red concrete culverts.

“It will take them two weeks to install it. That doesn’t mean it’s open, because then the workers will come in and install over an 18-wheeler load of playground safety mulch to fill it in,” Bray said.

Construction is set to begin Monday at Pecan Park, said Shane Raimer, project coordinator with Crosswinds Contracting. Workers with the contractor were finishing up at Pioneer Park on Thursday.

Among the patrons at Pecan Park Thursday was Cesar Gonzalez, accompanied by his two nephews, Junior and Julian Garcia. The trio visit one of the parks in Nacogdoches every day.

“I think it’s better for the kids and gives them more things to do,” Gonzalez said about the new playground equipment. “I think it will incentivize people as a whole to come out to the parks.”

As excitement grows for adults and children alike to have a new and upgraded play area, it is also expected that the parks will bring in more people.

“Anytime a city invests in its parks, whether its picnic tables or new playgrounds, that’s usually the most bang for your buck,” Bray said. “It’s free and open to everybody so this is a huge improvement to the park. (Pioneer and Pecan) are our two most popular parks, so you will increase the number of people coming to them.”

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