Keep playground in Pappas Park

By Angelina McNeela

Standing outside Pappas Park is a sign asking for feedback on tentative plans to tear down the only local playground in the area.

Pappas Park, at the corner of Hillcrest and Aspen drives, is the center of a quiet living community managed by Pittsley Realty. An online multiple choice questionnaire given by the Pappas Park District asks people who live nearby which of the following amenities should be installed: a basketball court, bags game, disc golf, volleyball courts or a fishing pier for a small pond. Demolishing a perfectly maintained playground like Pappas Park’s is a step backwards in the name of these unnecessary upgrades.

“We decided to see if we could be creative and utilize each park in a way that our primary users would be able to enjoy amenities that are more in line with our primary users,” said Jason Mangum, DeKalb Park District executive director.

The games for college students may create issues for residents with noise pollution. Residents pay extra to stay in a quiet living location where they don’t have to deal with fraternity culture and partying. Adding a basketball court or bags games would defeat the purpose of quiet living by attracting non-residents who would have little regard for a quiet lifestyle.

“In the years that it’s been there, rarely have we seen children playing on it … we started tracking uses when we’d be there for maintenance, trash, be mowing as well as other times of the day … . So, that’s why we decided to put the survey out there to see if there were in fact … going to be people that maybe we were missing,” Mangum said.

But, residents can attest to children, adults and even pets visiting the Pappas Park playground. That doesn’t mean there isn’t still room for upgrades that might benefit everyone.

One of the approaches to enhancing neighborhoods and creating a sense of community includes building parks and playgrounds for children and adults to enjoy.

“There’s a lot of families down here … . If they wanted to still keep the playground there, I think they could expand what they already have and maybe [add] some park benches and adult swings, too, because DeKalb’s really moving toward making it a safe environment,” said Brady Meier, a resident of Lakeside Apartments and senior marketing major. “They know kids party. DeKalb has a bad rep because of the history … like the crime rates in the area, so they’re trying to rebrand our image … making it feel more of a connected place instead of a disconnected, just old, outdated college town.”

Something doesn’t need to be fixed if it isn’t broken.