FOLEY – The new Foley Kids Park should be ready to open before Memorial Day with new activities and a new name.

The Foley City Council voted Monday, May 1, to name the new park for Sara Thompson, an elementary school teacher who led the way in getting the original park built more than 20 years ago, Mayor Ralph Hellmich said.

“She was instrumental, she and her second-grade class in coming up with the idea and bringing it forward and getting the community to support it and to build it in the first place,” Hellmich said. “We thought it would be a nice tribute to the educational aspect of that park.”

Thompson taught at Foley Elementary School for 20 years before retiring. She died in 2022.

The original Kids Park opened in 2001. The wooden playground was intended to last about 15 years in the Gulf Coast weather. The park was closed in February and demolished.

Some of the old equipment at the park was sent to other city sites to be reused either as playground items or for other purposes.

The new park is expected to cost about $1.2 million. The city will receive about $500,000 in grants to pay part of the cost.

The park is located in Max Griffin Park east of the city municipal swimming pool.

A live video showing the progress of construction of the new park can be seen at–Hp0U