BY PHIL CUSTODIO
Clarkston News Editor
The days of the woodframed playground equipment at Depot Park may be numbered, based on recommendations of the Friends of Depot Park.
The committee has been reviewing the playground for the past year, said Friends member Ken Ermer to Clarkston City Council, Feb. 27.
“It’s time to make a change,” Ermer said.
Recommendations include removing the wood and metal playground truck, woodframed swing set, playscape, monkey bars, pull up bars, and tire swing, and the wood platform with slide.
The age of the wood, flat tops, and sharp corners make them unsafe, he said.
“We have to think about investing in equipment for regular kids, and also kids with autism and the SCAMP children,” he said.
They recommend keeping the playground train, though it needs a paint job and perhaps replacement of its wooden seats, metal frame swing set, and the merry-go-round. An expert should be hired to check out the remaining pieces for safety, he said.
To replace the wooden pieces, the group recommends a “generation swing,” designed for an adult and child to use at the same time, as well as play panels with various activities built in.
“They have multiple activities – they’re interesting to kids with wheelchairs who can roll up to it, and other disabilities,” Ermer said.
The playground’s wood bark surface should be replaced with recycled rubber tiles, which are more durable, reduce impact, do not hide sharp objects, and are replaceable.
Plans for the future include a modern playscape with rounded edges and many activity panels.
Immediate plans would include seeking bids, fund raising, and applying for grants from local community organizations.
Generation swings cost about $2,500, and rubber tiles cost about $15-$25 per square foot, Ermer said.
“We recommend quotes from three playground equipment suppliers, who would draw up complete playground layout plans,” he said.
They will also involve residents and groups that donated the current playground equipment, said council member Eric Haven, also a member of Friends of Depot Park.
“To raise awareness – it could cause controversy,” Haven said. “We need to be careful about how we proceed with this.”
Mayor Steven Percival said the city will develop a master plan for the park over the next couple years.
“I’m encouraged by this,” Percival said.
The park group will return in March with a plan and recommendations for funding, for possible action by the council.
BY PHIL CUSTODIO