by Sandy Kaczmarski
Elburn—There may be some new playground equipment next year at Community Center Park if the village is awarded an $85,000 grant through the Open Space Lands Acquisition and Development Program.
The Village Board on Monday gave the go-ahead to the Public Works Department to apply for the grant. The project would cost the village $42,500 after a 50 percent reimbursement when the project is finished. The project is slated to begin next year if the grant is received.
Village Administrator Erin Willrett said competition for grant money is extremely high, and the village was denied a previous grant it submitted.
Jenna Cook, a Public Works employee who has been spearheading the project, said all of the playground equipment would be replaced and the sand would be removed.
“We would replace everything,” she told board members. “The sand is a bees’ nest haven. Kids have a lot of issues (with bees) in the summertime.”
Cook said the equipment is outdated and much of it can’t be replaced. The equipment also is not compliant with the Americans With Disabilities Act.
“The equipment is 25 years old, and it’s met its useful life,” Cook said. “Most parks (equipment) last between 12 and 15 years.”
Cook received bids ranging from $65,000 for equipment that would reduce the size of the playground by half, and $85,000 that would reduce the size by one-fourth.
The grant would cover the purchase of two pieces of playground equipment with more ground activities for the 2- to 5-year-old range and activities that are strength-oriented for kids 5- to 12-years-old.
A swing set would include two tot swings and two belted swings for older kids. All of the equipment is ADA compliant and includes a wood mulch to replace the bee-ridden sand.
The bids include complete installation by the vendor, but some board members questioned whether there were some things the village could do to reduce costs, such as removing the sand and grading the playground.
Board members said they would like to consider looking for a local excavator to help with the project and make the new playground more of a community project.