Archived Story

City could get new playground

Published 6:41pm Wednesday, June 12, 2013

To quote William Shakespeare: “To be or not to be: that is the question.”

Those words apply to the possibility of using grant money to install playground equipment at the Bug House Park site. During its meeting Monday might, the Washington City Council authorized the city’s Parks and Recreation Department to proceed with applying for a grant from the KaBOOM community partner program. KaBOOM approached the city about participating in the program, which would require $8,500 in community contributions, an extensive eight to 10 week planning process and 200 volunteers to build the playground in one day, according to Kristi H. Roberson, parks and recreation manager for the city. KaBOOM would provide up to $15,000 for the project, according to research done Monday night by Councilman Doug Mercer.

Friday is the deadline to apply for the grant.

The council had questions about the project, some of which Roberson could answer. As for other details of the project, Roberson said she was in the process of seeking that information from KaBOOM officials.

Because the city would be required to perform any needed site work, have soil tests performed, make utility checks and obtain required building permits, council members expressed concerns about how much those requirements could cost the city. They are concerned those costs may not make it fiscal feasible to go through with the project.

Roberson was tasked with getting more information about the proposed project and report back to the council regarding if the city should proceed with building the playground. Roberson said the $8,500, if raised, would come from individuals and businesses, not from the city.

Roberson said KaBOOM approached the city about applying for the grant instead of the city seeking a grant from KaBOOM.

“I do have some concerns as well. You have to get 200 volunteers, and it’s a one-day project,” Roberson said. “It’s not using (a contractor) — for Papa’s Playground we had a contractor come in and install the playground. It’s about community involvement and the community having buy-in to the park. That’s why they have to raise the funds. It’s a little different from anything we’ve ever done.”

Mayor Archie Jennings said the city’s position would be to proceed with the proposed project, but at any point along the way the city would back out if it felt uncomfortable with it.

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