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Freedom Park demolition begins

Construction workers begin demolition at Freedom Park Feb. 6. 2019, on Columbus Air Force Base, Mississippi. In September 2018, due to several safety concerns that surfaced, base leadership made the decision to close the playground, keeping in mind the safety of families and their children. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Hannah Bean)

Construction workers begin demolition at Freedom Park Feb. 6. 2019, on Columbus Air Force Base, Mississippi. In September 2018, due to several safety concerns that surfaced, base leadership made the decision to close the playground, keeping in mind the safety of families and their children. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Hannah Bean)

Construction workers disassemble pieces of Freedom Park during demolition Feb. 6, 2019, on Columbus Air force Base, Mississippi. The Freedom Park playground was built in 1996, a time when playgrounds were typically constructed with wooden materials. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Hannah Bean)

Construction workers disassemble pieces of Freedom Park during demolition Feb. 6, 2019, on Columbus Air force Base, Mississippi. The Freedom Park playground was built in 1996, a time when playgrounds were typically constructed with wooden materials. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Hannah Bean)

A Bobcat T550 Compact Track Loader dismantles a section of Freedom Park Feb. 6, 2019, on Columbus Air force Base, Mississippi. New equipment will be added to the park, replacing the old equipment currently residing there and making the park safer. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Hannah Bean)

A Bobcat T550 Compact Track Loader dismantles a section of Freedom Park Feb. 6, 2019, on Columbus Air force Base, Mississippi. New equipment will be added to the park, replacing the old equipment currently residing there and making the park safer. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Hannah Bean)

A Bobcat T550 Compact Track Loader carries pieces of Freedom Park to a pile during demolition Feb. 6, 2019, on Columbus Air force Base, Mississippi. Since its construction over 20 years ago, several areas of Freedom Park have deteriorated, creating an ever-increasing safety hazard. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Hannah Bean)

A Bobcat T550 Compact Track Loader carries pieces of Freedom Park to a pile during demolition Feb. 6, 2019, on Columbus Air force Base, Mississippi. Since its construction over 20 years ago, several areas of Freedom Park have deteriorated, creating an ever-increasing safety hazard. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Hannah Bean)

The Freedom Park playground will be built into two separate sections. One section will be for a 2-5-year-old area and the other section is a 5-12-year-old area, with equipment varying based on age range. (U.S. Air Force graphic)

The Freedom Park playground will be built into two separate sections. One section will be for a 2-5-year-old area and the other section is a 5-12-year-old area, with equipment varying based on age range. (U.S. Air Force graphic)

COLUMBUS AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. -- Demolition of Freedom Park began Feb. 6 on Columbus Air Force Base, Mississippi.

The Freedom Park playground was built in 1996, a time when playgrounds were typically constructed with wooden materials. Since its construction over 20 years ago, several areas have deteriorated in the wooden structure and many features worsened over time, creating an ever-increasing safety hazard.

In September 2018, due to several safety concerns that surfaced, base leadership made the decision to close the playground, keeping in mind the safety of families and their kids.

“The safety of it is important so that families can bring their children out there and not be concerned with their children being injured and at the same time, having somewhere safe to play, grow, exercise and have fun,” said 2nd Lt. Brett Albertson, 14th Civil Engineer Squadron chief of project management.

In addition to making the park safer, new equipment will be added to the park, replacing the old equipment currently residing there.

The playground will be built into two separate sections. One section will be for a 2-5-year-old area and the other section is a 5-12-year-old area, with equipment varying based on age range.

Some of the equipment includes two swing sets, various climbing structures, sun shades and a jet theme throughout the playground.

“It gives them a safer and more modernized place because the current one was built over 20 years ago,” said Allison Lewis, 14th Contracting Squadron infrastructure flight chief. “Times have changed, especially for kids, the safety requirements have changed … It also gives something for your younger kids while also providing something for your older kids. Kids of all ages can actually utilize the structure and not get bored.”

While Freedom Park is being reconstructed, everything else, including the track will remain open. The new playground is projected to be completed in April 2019.