Written by: Alana Crosby
The McKee family of McKee Foods Corporation is donating a parcel of land to the City of Collegedale for a park that is scheduled to be completed in the summer of 2022. Construction of Little Debbie Park, to be located behind the Collegedale Commons, will tentatively start this summer.
According to Mike Gloekler, corporate communications and public relations manager for McKee Foods Corporation, the McKee family is working on plans for the park along with the City of Collegedale and Barge Design Solutions.
The park will be on 10 acres located behind the Collegedale Commons on the north side, bordered by Swinyar Drive on the west, Leyland Drive on the south and the Collegedale Greenway to the east, according to Gloekler.
According to Bridgett Raper, communications strategist for the small cities coalition of Hamilton County, building the park will cost the City of Collegedale nothing.
“The McKee family purchased the plot of land from Southern Adventist University with the sole purpose of donating the parcel to the City of Collegedale, specifically for use as a park,” Gloekler said. “The McKee family are all outdoor enthusiasts who believe finding ways to get out into nature nurtures the whole person and brings friends and family together.”
Some anticipated park features are: one large pavilion with restrooms, five small pavilions, 16 swings, 11 benches, more playground equipment, block seating, two bicycle racks, 10 picnic tables, 83 standard parking spaces and four Americans with Disabilities Act compatible parking spaces and a bridge over the creek.
A few playground highlights include a sensory wave seat, rock pool climber, wrinkle wall sidewinder, flower talk tube, sensory dome, zipline and playcore musical instruments. Also featured in the plans for the playground are Little Debbie snack-shaped play sculptures. Branded items such as these will be maintained by the McKee Foods Corporation.
According to the Little Debbie Park website, the vision for the park is to be a “relaxed and natural area focused on people rather than things.”
The City of Collegedale has released this statement:
“We are very excited about the Little Debbie Park at the Commons. A very generous donor has agreed to construct and give a large park that includes over 400 trees, over 5,000 shrubs, open space, greenway connections to and through the park, a large pavilion with restrooms, several small pavilions, covered swings and a playground.”
“Any time we can preserve green spaces, there is an immediate benefit to the community,” said Gloekler. “The park will feature a large playground with accessible play for all ages and large grassy areas for impromptu pickup games — football, Frisbee, kickball — and picnics.”
Raper encourages locals of Collegedale to attend commission meetings to show support for the donation of the park.