TAFT – Christmas came early to Taft this year in the form of $34,000 worth of playground equipment from Cheniere Energy, which transformed Sherman D. Gibson Park that was in dire need of some TLC.

After Hurricane Harvey, the benches and canopy were removed due to damage along with the old playground equipment, which was deemed unsafe.

The donation was in the works since the beginning of the year, but when COVID-19 struck everything was put on hold. Around July, the emails began to flow back and forth once again from the Taft city officials to Cheniere, and plans were once again set in motion.

“Cheniere was interested in helping the city of Taft with some projects and really building up the parks,” Taft Finance and Human Resource Director Mary Alice Sandoval said. “We went and did a walk through of some of the parks and Gibson Park (located at the end of Industrial Street) was chosen.”

With $34,000 worth of playground equipment purchased from Exerplay, Taft assembled a ragtag group of volunteers, city crew members and Cheniere employees.

“Ray Vernon from Exerplay is leading the project,” Sandoval said “He goes around and helps other facilities like schools and cities set up these projects.”

While the equipment took two days to assemble, it now sits fully constructed and ready for play.

“We really appreciate it,” Sandoval continued. “We were really excited when Cheniere told us they wanted to do this for the children of Taft.

“And we’re excited it’s happening at Gibson Park.”

•pgonzales@mysoutex.com•

 

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