Desoto County News

Conger Park Playground reopens

Photo: Maddox Foundation and City of Hernando officials pose for a photo in front of the reconstructed Conger Park Playground. The playground’s official reopening and ribbon cutting was held Wednesday afternoon. (Bob Bakken/  

What has been the favorite playground for Hernando children to play at, as well as a site that many Hernando High School seniors have used as a photo opportunity setting for their senior pictures, is officially open once again. 

The unique design and setting of the Conger Park playground on West Oak Grove Road in Hernando was reopened Wednesday afternoon with a celebratory ribbon cutting event. Supporters, city officials, and representatives of the Maddox Foundation sliced the ribbon that completes the reconstruction of the playground. 

The play area was close to being condemned in 2019 when the Maddox Foundation stepped in to provide the funds for a rebuild. Children were able to play on the playground when it was rebuilt until early last year, when a tree fell and damaged the facility to the point of being closed for safety reasons.  

Maddox Foundation President/CEO Robin Hurdle said the foundation has been involved in giving Hernando children a place to play, even as far back as her arrival in DeSoto County.  

“When we moved to Hernando there was not a playground here,” Hurdle said. “ It was empty land and we got together with the community and did the original build in 2000 and it was quite something. The Maddox Foundation invested over a half a million dollars at that time to do the build.” 

Hurdle said more than $125,000 was put into the latest reconstruction work to make the playground what it is today, and Mayor Chip Johnson said the Maddox Foundation covered the cost and at no cost to the city.  

“When Robin called me and said, ‘We would like to take on the rebuild,’ I thought long and hard about it for about half a second,” said Johnson. “I said please and thank you, so I really want to thank the board of the Maddox Foundation. This was all a Maddox Foundation rebuild.”

Among the unique features are a train to climb on, a tank named Thomas, as well as other items to play on with Hernando-themed identifiers, such as a water tower labeled “Hernando,”