A new Imagination Station is rising from its ashes at the Charles E. Bailey Sr. Sportplex.
A year and half after Imagination Station was condemned and burned, efforts are underway to build a new and better environment for all children. Alexander City Councilman Bobby Tapley and others such as Mayor Woody Baird and community development director Al Jones have spearheaded a fundraising campaign to get the new playground off the planning table.
“The new playground will have the outstanding benefit of providing activities for children of all abilities,” Tapley said. “We have already set up an account and raised several thousand dollars and have many more commitments of amounts as yet undetermined.”
Tapley said Sabal Trail Transmission has already committed a substantial amount to get the fundraising effort started and other businesses and organizations such as Alabama Power have suggested to Tapley and other city leaders they are interested in donating to the cause. Tapley said estimates for a replacement to Imagination Station are between $200,000 and $250,000.
“We understand the difficult task ahead to raise this amount of funding; however, providing a safe, quality-built and long-lasting playground for all children of our area is a very important investment for our residents. I am confident the generous businesses, churches, clubs, organizations and individuals of Alexander City and all of the Lake Martin area will work together to help finish this project.”
Imagination Station was burned in March 2021 nearly 30 years after it was constructed but not due to vandalism. Alexander City Parks and Recreation Director Sonny Wilson said the playground had been declared unsafe.
“The main support structure of the playground had failed after more than 20 years,” Wilson said. “The wooden poles that went into the ground had rotted and other parts had failed. We shut it down last year but people were still going.”
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Wilson said he hated to see the structure go.
“It was built in the 1990s and had an expected lifespan of about 20 years,” Wilson said. “Over the years we did what we could to save it. We had done all we could.”
Wilson said city employees tried to modify parts of the playground to prevent water from seeping into the tops of poles holding the structure up. But ultimately the wood structure exposed to the elements for nearly 25 years gave way.
The city has created a fund for donations for a new playground.
Checks can be made out to the City of Alexander city Imagination Station Playground Fund and mailed to Romy Stamps, Director of Finance, City of Alexander City, Post Office Box 552, Alexander City, Alabama 35011.
Tapley said he and Jones would be visiting with area civic groups and organizations to answer questions and seek donations.