Tag Archives: playgrounds

DP: Bryant, Arkansas

Today’s Daily Prompt is: We Built This City. What do you love most about the city / town / place that you live in? What do you like the least about it? If you were mayor, what would be the most important problem you’d tackle? How would you tackle it?

The city that I live in, Bryant, is a fast growing city. It covers nine square miles and has every fast food chain you can think of. It also has a Walmart, Target, Kohl’s, Kirkland’s, two Starbucks, Lowe’s, and numerous other small and big businesses. I loved how people in our community was once generous, friendly, and hospitable. Now, you can look forward to sitting in a turn lane forever as no one is considerate to not block driveways to businesses. Or you’ll sit at a stop sign, forever waiting on someone to let you into the flow of traffic.

The problem with this city is that all the businesses are in one area, clustered, making traffic a nightmare to endure in the mornings and when school has let out for the day. Instead of clustering all businesses into one big area, why not spread them out? It makes it very difficult to get in and out of those businesses, as everyone is rushing to get some where and would not think twice to let you cut in front of them.

When I first left for the Navy in 2000, Bryant only had a Wendy’s, Pizza Hut, McDonald’s, and a small grocery store, as well as three gas stations. The population was a little over 9,000. Bryant was better known as the ‘bedroom community’ due to it mostly being houses and not the huge booming town it is today. After I got out of the Navy, Pizza Hut was demolished and a gas station was put in it’s place. We still have Wendy’s and McDonald’s, but the grocery store went out of business due to Walmart moving in just down the street. The current population is over 16,000. Almost doubled from when I first left in 2000 for boot camp.

There’s construction going on presently, albeit they’re building another fast food restaurant…that we don’t need. There was a town meeting the other day for a millage tax, requesting money to build another middle school and elementary school, to upgrade the middle school’s cafeteria, to build more things that our ever growing town needs for its community, yet the millage tax didn’t pass. Guess the towns people don’t see the things we need here or they believe the new High School that was finished last summer was enough as far as educational buildings go.

This city literally has grown immensely within the last fifteen years, that someone like me would have a hard time recognizing it. When I had gotten out of the service, I moved to Colorado to attend college for aviation. I stayed there for almost 4 years, then moved to Oklahoma for a few years, then moved back here in late 2009. I had been gone for 9 years and was astonished as to how much my hometown had changed. The service roads weren’t even two way anymore. They had changed to one way service lanes…good thing my grandmother warned me about that or I may have made a huge error by going the wrong way.

With the current mayor we have, our city has built on a new Recreational Center with an indoor pool and more fast food buildings. What our city needs is less fast food and more buildings for the community. The new rec center was nice, though the indoor swimming pool is mostly for swim teams. I had taken my daughter swimming to the new indoor pool and there were five other parents, gathered in a five by ten area that was sectioned off for ‘free swimming’. Ten of us collided into one another in the tiny space, just to allow our kiddos some time to cool off from the hot summer heat.

The other swimming pool that we have here, is a tiny pool, yet it is overly crowded every summer. We do need a bigger pool that is open to the public and not used for swim teams. Yes, we have a splash pad, to which you have to pay for, but my daughter is terrified of it, due to her autism.

There aren’t enough things here for special needs children. Or I should say, there isn’t anything for special needs children at all, other than a couple of daycare centers. We could use more parks with playgrounds; we only have one playground. There is a park currently being built that is accessible for disabled children. It isn’t here in Bryant, but it’s a twenty minute drive, without traffic. It’s actually a first of its kind park, which is sad as we need more parks that are accessible for all walks of life, disabled or not. (Click here and here for details on that park)

I would love to see a park with outdoor exercise equipment. Gyms may have dropped their prices so that us poor people can go workout, but what about daycare services? There’s only one gym here with a small childcare service while mom works out, yet it’s pricey. Some parents may only have a few minutes to workout after work, yet that’s when they have their kiddos with them. So, why not have an ‘Adult Fitness Playground’ along with our kids playgrounds? Family’s would be more active, would they not? It’s free and open to the public, so there would be more people out there working out, getting healthy.

As a mayor, the community and environment should be the most important things to think about and not what goes in and out of our pockets.

First day of my summer break


Today was my first day beginning my summer break. I took my last final of the semester yesterday and felt confidant that I aced it. I gave it a few hours before I checked my overall grades and saw that I made an A in that class which is Cultural Anthropology. Anthropology is what I decided that I would be majoring in. I’m even more excited to see that I received another A and a B in two other classes. I’m still waiting to see what I received for one more class, but I have a feeling I did very well. My GPA even went up, which makes me happy. I even registered for five more classes for next semester.

Now with school being over I can relax and enjoy being stress free for awhile. Most importantly, I can now spend the time that I want with my daughter.

Today she told me that she wanted to go outside and play, well, not in so many words, but with gestures and with her putting her shoes on and running to the door. I grabbed my purse, a bottled water, put my shoes on, and went outside. Instead of playing on the swing set in our backyard, I decided to take her to the park down the street.

shoesOne thing I can tell you that if you ever decide to go to the park with an energetic three year old, wear tennis shoes and not flip flops. My calf muscles burned after running around the playground with her for a half hour. She then wanted me to take her for a walk around the foot path trails that go around the perimeter of the park. I decided that the half we walked was at least two miles.

It did feel good to go for a walk, especially after several months of sitting being a computer researching and typing essays almost daily. From the lack of exercise I noticed that I had put on a few pounds, which is something that I am not comfortable with. I haven’t had much luck in losing these extra baby pounds due to my lower back pain, so putting on more weight makes me feel even more depressed. I am planning on doing a lot more walking this summer, though I plan on having my little girl with me.

My lil Houdini

My daughter has made a name for herself or has become well known with all the teachers at her daycare. Some of you might think ‘uh oh’. She’s honestly a good child. Very smart. Always happy. All the teachers know her as ‘the little escape artist’, so I’m told and have to pay special attention to her when on the playground.

A few weeks ago when I stopped to pick her up from daycare, her teacher told me about her little escape from her part of the playground. I thought, ‘uh oh!’ The way their playgrounds are set up is a little awkward and I can totally see this happening. The entire playground is fenced in. The only way to get into the playground is through a doorway from the building (awesome idea). Each little play area is sectioned off by a fence row, to get into that section you have to go through a gate. Well, my daughter’s playground is the first playground and all the other kids have to walk through her area to get to theirs. So, she takes this opportunity to be a part of their group, squeezing herself into their line, and follows them into their play area.

After a few minutes her teacher discovers my daughter is gone and panics! She’s calling her name and of course there’s no reply. My daughter won’t come when her name is called unless you say I have pancakes or do you want a cookie. Her magic words. Her teacher happens to look over the fence at the other playground and sees my daughter playing over there. She goes over, gets her, and brings her back over to her playground.

I’m told this happens frequently! So each time a teacher is taking over for breaks they know about her little escape tricks.

On another day, the door to her daycare room wasn’t fully closed. My daughter had walked over to the door and opened it all the way. Her teacher turned her head just in time to see my daughter dashing out the door, running full speed for the front door of the daycare. Her teacher just found out how fast my little girl can run.

Yesterday I stopped by to pick her up. We were walking down the hallway to sign out and one of the teachers, I didn’t even know, says, ‘hey, there’s the little escape artist.’ I just laughed and said, ‘actually I call her Houdini at home.’