A four-acre park and playground in Bridgeport’s East End is about to get a major makeover.
Mayor Bill Finch announced Tuesday that the city will soon begin transforming Johnson Oak Park, as well as the grounds of the adjacent Jettie S. Tisdale Elementary School.
Approximately $350,000 was awarded to fund the Bridgeport project as part of a new competitive federal grant program through the Land and Water Conservation Fund called the Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership.
In total, eight cities across the nation will receive about $3 million to help construct and enhance parks and other outdoor recreation facilities in disadvantaged neighborhoods, according to the National Park Service and the U.S. Department of the Interior. Funding will come from offshore oil and gas royalties.
Several Bridgeport school children were able to add their input as plans for the park’s new design were coming together.
"The plan is in place that the children designed themselves, which to me is the most exciting part," said Finch. "Imagine you went to a school, and in 20 years, you could come back to a playground with your children and say, 'I helped make this playground.'"
The project, which will include a new playground and ball fields, will be completed in phases over the next three years. The first phase includes a picnic grove, spray pad and a fitness zone.