Propst Park is set to receive millions much needed renovations

COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI) – A historic Columbus park is getting a major facelift but not without a much-heated debate and the decision to put the city in more debt.

Propst Park has been widely considered a local treasure that has stood the test of time.
Now, it’s about to enter a new era.
Built-in the 1950s, Propst Park has been a centerpiece on the east side of Columbus for generations.
Director of Parks and Recreation, Greg Lewis, said the park’s lifespan played out decades ago and renovations are long overdue.
“The park was built in 1954”, said Lewis. “Usually, the lifespan of a park is 20 to 25 years, so it was just truly time for us to update that park. It’s supposed to be a historical park so we need to make it look that way and make it enticing for people to want to stop by.”
Discussions surrounding the park have been a highly debated topic for the city council for months.
Columbus Mayor Keith Gaskin says all members were in favor of updating Propst Park; however, the issue came into play in determining at what cost.
“We got about one point four million in hand right now”, said Gaskin. “We know we’ll get about four hundred thousand a year we can invest.”
City officials agreed to take out a three million dollar loan to help fund the project.
“There was a debate on whether we could use the money that we have on hand, and then the money that we know is coming in, instead of taking out a loan where you add interest and other costs”, said Gaskin. “I truly believe investing in Propst Park is a good investment for that whole part of the town. I think that once we bring Propst Park back to what it can be, there’s a good chance you’ll see investments around the park too from the private sector, from businesses, retail, and restaurants around that area I think will be very positive.”
Vice Mayor Joseph Mickens says that the reason for requesting the extra $3 million in a loan is to seize what he says is an opportunity that can’t be passed up.
“So why we went with the three…I don’t want to see Propst Park like the Amphitheater downtown,” said Mickens. “In other words, we’re gonna do it. We’re gonna go all in and do it. We’re gonna do everything we need to do so we don’t have to come back five years from now. Because the proceeds that are there now, we’re not gonna have these funds coming up. These funds finna go. So, we got a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity here to do something good and I think that’s what we’re doing.”
Updates to the park include turf for all of the baseball fields, pickleball court, splash pad, and picnic area updates, as well as enhanced security features as well. We’ll be sure to keep you updated on the renovation process.
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