THOMASVILLE — Parks in Thomasville are again scheduled for a prominent facelift.

Eight years after renovations to the city’s “Children at Party” initiative launched a project that brought eight new playgrounds to Thomasville, a safer surface will be installed to continue the makeovers that started in 2012. These new additions are padded surface mats under the “impact zones” of swings at the city’s parks.

Cory Tobin, Thomasville Parks and Recreation program director, said 2020 has represented challenges as facilities were forced to shut down for much of the year due to COVID-19. Despite the obstacles, improvements lend themselves to a brighter future for the community’s recreation.

“This year has looked different for everyone and because of it the club turned their focus back on our playgrounds specifically,” Tobin said. “This will help provide a safer surface for our users and keep the area level.”

Thomasville Rotary Club began the Children at Play initiative, prompting the city to hold a series of park openings to create an awareness for a healthy lifestyle among Chair City residents. Children at Play was among the three programs which helped Thomasville gain All-America City status.

Physical fitness has been a subject of conversation among city leaders for the last several years.

City officials addressed childhood obesity by focusing on increasing opportunities for children and families to be active and make healthier choices. Special efforts were made to ensure that one of the playgrounds was fully accessible to kids with physical disabilities.

The parties brought together 3,000 neighbors who gathered, mingled, ate and had fun playing together. Residents, business leaders, city officials, police, churches, families and children all collaborated to make safe new playgrounds a reality.

Annually, Party in the Park events and programs for families are held to advocate for the prevention of childhood obesity. Though this year made such events unavailable, the organization is looking ahead to a time post-pandemic when residents can fully enjoy the improvements made.

A track restoration project at Thomasville High School mid-decade furthered the cause. By removing the existing track and field surface, replacing it with a new rubberized surface and adding an updated drainage system, the new track is more accommodating for visitors.

The first set of surface installations at Carver Park is complete, and over the late fall and winter, every swing in the Thomasville Parks system will be surrounded by this padded surface.

Staff writer Daniel Kennedy can be reached at 336-888-3578, or at kennedy@tvilletimes.com.

Staff writer Daniel Kennedy can be reached at 336-888-3578, or at kennedy@tvilletimes.com.