Local parks get playground upgrades

BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - According to a study by a pediatrician with the Seattle Children's Research Institute, only 51 percent of children go outside to walk or play during the day.

We spoke with some park officials who hope their new improvements will motivate people to get their kids playing outside.

Oakland Terrace Park in Panama City is currently closed.

"It's very centrally located in Panama City. It's probably the most utilized playground in Bay County," said Keith Baker, Director of Leisure Services for Panama City.

The park's playground is getting a $300,000 plus facelift.

"Not only are we replacing some of the older equipment, we're also bringing in new equipment. This time we've got an ADA playground system under construction, so we're excited about that," said Baker.

The two-phase project is expected to be completed at the end of February.

Frank Brown Park in Panama City Beach is also making over its playground. Park officials tell us they're prepping the area for brand new playground equipment which they anticipate will be ready for kids to play on in May.

Park officials tell us they hope kids get off their phones, turn off the TV, and go play outside for a change. We spoke with parents who agree.

"We got a Kindle for Thanksgiving and she became obsessed with it. So after the first week I was like, 'no more.' We started coming here and we spend hours here, it's really awesome," said Molly McPhee, who brings her daughter to the park.

"It's great being outside and they love it. They love going for walks and playing. This is the highlight of their day, besides the beach," said Crystal Rivard, who also brings her kids to the park.

The new playground equipment at Oakland Terrace Park and Frank Brown Park will be ADA accessible.