Fort Bayou Estates Gets Much-Needed Playground

KaBOOM was at it again Saturday, doing what they do best - building playgrounds. This time, the organization partnered with AmeriCares and the City of Ocean Springs to build a playground in the Fort Bayou Estates Neighborhood.

There was plenty to do, and very little time to do it. Volunteers know they only have a few hours to build an entire playground. Fortunately, there were hundreds of helping hands, including the Mayor of Ocean Springs.

"Well, I've been helping out. Landscaping is my favorite thing. I love to do that, garden designs. So we're battling over where to put the live oak trees, and we're just having a great time out here. It's just amazing to see something like this go up in one day."

More than 300 volunteers made it possible Saturday, but KaBOOM project manager, Stephanie Nelson, says the planning started months ago, with the children.

"We started in October, and I met with some kids in the neighborhood and some folks from the city and some local residents, and had the kids draw me their dream playgrounds. They could have anything on the site, I told them I said what would you want?"

And so, their drawings became reality. A reality that wouldn't be possible without the generosity of the Ocean Springs Hospital, according to Ward 1 Alderman John Gill.

"This spot was owned by the hospital, this playground area, and the hospital donated it to the board of supervisors for $1."

Hospital Administrator Kevin Holland says, "We were very fortunate to have the land available, and this has been a very important project to the Ocean Springs community. And we wanted to be able to provide a safe place for neighborhood kids to play and enjoy the outdoors."

Which is something the Fort Bayou Estates desperately needed.

Alderman Gill says, "Fort Bayou estates is one of the biggest subdivisions in Ocean Springs, it consists of 1,500 homes and they have never had a playground. It's just a great thing to see something like this come together, and I know the kids are going to enjoy it. "

This is the 3rd playground AmeriCares has partnered with KaBOOM to build on the Gulf Coast. The other 2 were in D'Iberville and New Orleans.