HAMMOND | Plans to upgrade playground equipment and potentially add a soccer field to Harrison Park are in the works.
The initial round of improvements at the historical park, which focused on renovating the tennis courts, is slated for completion by May, according to Owana Miller, the city's community development director.
Miller said the projected start date on the next improvements is subject to funding. For the first round, Hammond paid $572,800 out of federal grant money the city receives from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Miller said the city's project manager for the Harrison Park upgrades, Hutton & Hutton Architects and Engineers, is getting numbers together on how much the next phase will cost.
“It all depends on the cost,” Miller said, “and where we can pull the funds from.”
The city is exploring placing parking in front of the tennis courts and by the playground equipment. Miller said the playground equipment will be replaced and moved from its current location, which can flood.
Once the cause of the flooding is addressed, Miller said that portion of the park at Hohman Avenue and Waltham Street may become a new soccer field.
“A number of people have been calling us about a soccer field,” Miller said. “An organization used to practice soccer out there, but couldn't do it because of the ground. It floods so much. We're going to see what we can do to fix it all up.”
Miller said she plans to reach out to the adjacent Montessori Children's Schoolhouse in Hammond, which uses the playground equipment, to get the school's insight.
Kathleen Hill, the school's principal and administrator, said sometimes there are problems with graffiti on the playground equipment.
“I would love to meet with the city to see what they are doing,” Hill said.