by Victor Lopez
ODESSA--It's going to cost $4.5 million, but when it's all said and done, officials say the new look will be worth every penny.
Anyone who has lived in or visited Odessa for any length of time, expects to see certain things when they visit Sherwood Park. As NewsWest 9 found out, the renovations will include some familiar faces and some new ones.
"We tried to stay within the theming of what was originally done by the Rotary Club in the early 50's. The specific playground features are themed. The theme is, sort of like what used to be there many, many years ago," Odessa Parks and Recreation Director, Steve Patton, said.
Attractions like the octopus and the spider have been a part of Sherwood Park since the beginning and will continue to be. But Patton says, look for a new version of another old favorite, "The old ship that was there, that I played on a number of years ago, we went back with a new ship."
New to the park will be a barn, loaded with slides and jungle gyms, re-vamped baseball fields and more.
"The community and the neighborhood wanted a walking trail, paved around the perimeter, so that is going to be an 8-foot wide, concrete walking trail, around the entire perimeter of the park," Patton explained.
The City has given over 500 acres of land to the Parks and Recreation Department. According to Mayor Larry Melton, Wednesday's ground breaking is the first step to bring back the shine to Odessa's crown jewel, "An event to launch a massive remodeling and revamping of this park to bring it back as a premier park in our community system."
But you can't have a Sherwood Park without it's most famous attraction.
"Prairie Pete, unfortunately was destroyed a number of years ago," Patton said.
He added, with the help of some serious research and photographs, even he will look like his old self again, "Prairie Pete will be resurrected and again it will be Prairie Pete Playland Park at Sherwood Park. That's the theming that was original to the park site in the '50's and we would like to keep that."
The whole project is expected to take about a year to complete. Barring any hold-ups for weather or other problems, a grand opening date has been set for January of 2011.