GFWC Panama City Junior Woman's Club
Under the Oaks Park

In 1993, P.C. Juniors coordinated the construction of a 10,000 square foot “Creative Playground” at Under the Oaks Park on Tyndall Parkway in Callaway. It took more than three years to raise the $70,000 needed to construct the project.

The five-day barn-raising-style project resulted in a multi-level wooden structure of interconnecting tunnels, ramps, bridges, ladders and overhead rings. The designer, New York architects Robert Leathers and Associates, used suggestions of more than 1,800 Bay County elementary school children to shape the playground. As a result, it includes a pencil tower, pirate ship, and covered picnic area. In addition to the unusual elements included in the playground, it has two swing sets, four types of slides, a big sandbox and balance beams.

A main concern of 1993 P.C. Junior’s President Tracy Johnstone and others affiliated with the project was the idea to make the park accessible to the disabled. The ramps, walkways, and structures are 90 percent accessible to the disabled. The floor is firm enough to walk on and support wheelchairs and crutches for the handicapped, but soft enough to cushion a youngster's fall.

In October 1998, club member Nancy Dingus, coordinated a 6,000 square foot expansion project designed for toddlers known as the “Tot Lot.” More than 100 volunteers constructed two playhouses, a wooden fence, swing set, benches and put into place two spring rocking horses and games. The expansion project cost more than $15,000.

To get to Under the Oaks Park: from Panama City, take U.S. 98 east toward Tyndall Air Force Base. The park is on the left (east), just before you go south across the DuPont Bridge.

The Creative Playground and Tot Lot at Under the Oaks Park is an ongoing project Juniors are active in maintaining.

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