Anna to see more events, upgraded parks

By Joshua Baethge
For the Anna-Melissa Tribune
Anna Neighborhood Services Director Marc Marchand is overseeing the installation of automatic defibrillators at city parks.

Anna Neighborhoods Services Director Marc Marchand arrived on the scene nine months ago. From the sound of things, he has been just a little busy.  On March 23, he updated the City Council on all that’s been going on with his department including updates on city parks and events.

Major Parks Projects Coming Along

Major improvements at Johnson Park are nearing completion. In order to make up for lost time in February caused by bad weather, crews are taking advantage of nearly every single moment of sunlight to complete the project. Thanks in large part to a matching grant the park now boasts the city’s first fully inclusive playground.  There’s a sensory station, wheelchair-accessible whirl and a tri swing.

Construction on the new restroom and pavilion building should commence in one or two weeks.

When the playground plans were first released, the plans called for a color scheme that equipment that matched the playing surface.  A local parent whose child has some vision issues called and asked if the colors could be more contrasting to help her child and others with similar issues.  Marchand contacted the manufacturer and had the changes made.  The contrasting color schemes will not be their new standard.

Updated restrooms facilities have been completed at Slayter Creek Park.  They include automated locking mechanisms that lock the doors when the park is closed.

Automatic emergency defibrillators (AEDs) are being installed at city parks.  The Neighborhood Services Department installed lightning detection devices at Slayter Creek Park. The information from them feeds onto the website so that umpires and coaches can know how long they need to stay off the field. Public safety offices can also make announcements on the system.

Marchand says that much of the costs for these projects have been funded directly with fees from developers, saving precious tax dollars for other uses.

Bigger Events Planned

This week marked the beginning of Anna’s Easter Eggstravaganza celebration.  Back in December, the city distributed more than 800 kits to area kids featuring various projects.  The event so successful, the city decided to distribute 1000 Easter baskets for Eggstravaganza

Later this month Anna will also host an Earth Day celebration April 24.  It will feature a community clean-up event and hazardous waste drop-off.  More details and involvement opportunities will be announced in the coming weeks.

Marchand also unveiled plans for Anna’s first summer concert series.  They begin with a live performance from Le Freak on June 12.

Disco band Le Freak and Stevie Ray Vaughn tribute band Texas Flood will be part of the Anna Summer Concert Series

“If you haven’t seen Le Freak you are in for a treat,” he said. “They are truly the number one disco bank in the world.”

The Stevie Ray Vaugh inspired band Texas Flood will come to Anna July 4.  Marchand says the city has hired the firm behind Addison’s Kaboom Town festival to put on a 20-minute high areal firework show.

Disco band Le Freak and Stevie Ray Vaughn tribute band Texas Flood will be part of the Anna Summer Concert Series

“We’re going to have the biggest, baddest, most amazing fireworks show that you have ever seen,” he says.