Lapine park fitted with new features

Published 11:50 am Friday, October 13, 2023

A group of Lapine ladies known as Wellness Warriors Fitness work out at Wayne Enzor Park in Lapine on every day when the weather is fine. Two regulars, Marie Williamson and Martha Brightwell, felt concerned when they first noticed construction on the park’s tennis court, but were excited to learn they would soon enjoy new amenities to support their fitness efforts.

Lapine residents noticed recent construction too, especially the addition of a pavilion in the northeast corner of what had been a double tennis court for several decades. According to Montgomery County Parks and Recreation Director James Williams, the pavilion is one of a few new features designed to help community members make the most of the small South Montgomery County park.

“The vision is for one side of the tennis court to be used as a pavilion,” Williamson said. “The other side of that court will be surfaced and clean for ladies to do yoga, to bring their mats. Eventually the other part we’re going to strike off for pickleball.”

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Williams said the pavilion was located on the tennis court area, as the highest elevation in the low-lying park to prevent flooding. The director keeps a list of county parks needing improvements and said the rural park was well overdue for renovation.

“We select certain parks for improvements, and I had Enzor Park on the list,” Williams said. “I had some funding, so we chose to put in a 16 by 16 pavilion there.”

To determine the best use of funding, Williams visited the park and asked around in Lapine, seeking to learn how local residents used the area. His discovery uncovered the ladies fitness initiative and also pointed to the lack of shading for parties and other activities.

“The ladies can step off from yoga and come right there to rest,” Williams said. “I’ve also seen parents sitting on the old benches with no cover or shade. We’re going to clean up the shrubbery, put up new park benches, and add a new sign near the road.”

Williamson, who is coordinator of Wellness Warriors, practices regular exercise at her doctor’s recommendation. Around six ladies, give or take a few, join her to exercise regularly at the park when weather permits. 

She and Brightwell expressed surprise and delight to learn their efforts were considered in planning for park renovations.

“I’m thankful that there’s an interest in the park,” Williamson said. “This means the world to us. I’m 70 and [Brightwell] is 71. Most of our group wants to stay mobile and build core strength for balance.”

Residents from both Montgomery and Crenshaw County use the space which provides the only free public playground, walking track, and picnic area between Grady, Snowdoun, Luverne and Greenville. And, while former Montgomery County administrators focused little time or funding on the rural park, Williams said he was pleased to discover and assist the Lapine community in making the most of the space.

“We’ve got a sign up there that says, ‘Montgomery County’ and there’s a need for a park,” he explained. “My concept is, whatever the need is for that community is what we try to do. I try to see what they like and what they want.

“I’ve asked people and I’ve come down there. I’ve seen parents with kids and heard about ladies doing exercise on the tennis court. Then, a couple of years ago, it really hurt me to see parents hosting a little girl’s birthday party in the hot sun with no cover. I said, ‘I’ve got to get them some type of pavilion down here.’ My concept was just to make it more family friendly.”

Williams said work was originally slated earlier but was delayed due to COVID-19 and materials shortages. 

Once renovations are completed, the county will host a ribbon cutting ceremony. The date for the event will be determined at a later date.