GLASGOW – A completely new set of playground equipment is in the process of being constructed at Twyman Park this week.
Jeff Phillips, who is leading the crew of four playground installers for Miracle Recreation, from which the city purchased the equipment, said they plan to have as much as possible of it up by Thursday afternoon, as they've been working to beat predicted rain for later in the week.
He described the pieces they would be assembling over the coming hours, but part of the preparation involved drilling holes in the ground for anchor posts that must be 2 feet to 4 feet deep, which was happening Wednesday morning along with a little of the assembly.
“This stuff is designed to be hurricane-proof,” Phillips said.
The playground area, which is surrounded by a chain-link fence, is to the right of Twyman Park as one enters from Bunche Avenue.
Starting from the left as visitors would enter the playground, the larger elements include a “tot swing” for kids ages 2 to 5; a 10-spin merry-go-round for up to 10 children; a tower structure with a double-slide, climbing wall, stairs, etc.; a climbing structure for larger kids and a tower center for larger kids. The last two areas will have above-ground stepping pods on which the children can go from one to another, and the tower center has multiple slides, a climbing pole, ladder, etc.
Phillips said the merry-go-round is a good one for some special needs children, because “the seats actually cradle you.” A harness can also be attached, he said.
Along one edge of the playground area are some smaller elements, such as panels that play animal sounds and music and musical instruments.
Eddie Furlong, director of the Glasgow Parks and Recreation Department, said the playground equipment, with installation, cost just shy of $50,000, and his staff will then put in playground surface mulch after the equipment installation is done.
Plans for Twyman also call for a new restroom facility and renovating the shelter. Mayor Harold Armstrong has been working on getting the specifications for that work completed, he said.
The Glasgow Electric Plant Board has installed a new light pole with two security lights attached to it for the parking lot/playground area.
Two other possibilities are adding another shelter at the far back end of the park and tearing out the basketball court and replacing it, but as of Wednesday, the final decisions on those had not been made. He had provided an estimate to the mayor for the work on the basketball court, Furlong said.
Armstrong said he thinks the city will be ready to advertise for bids in about a week on the bathrooms and shelters.
The specifications are ready with a possible drawing, and he said he is going to see whether an engineer will sign off on them as prepared, but if not, the city may need to pay an engineer to redo the drawings.
“We're trying to save every nickel we can,” he said.
Armstrong said he and Furlong would be going through the parks on Thursday to finalize which items need to be advertised for bids and which do not at this point.
Improvements to the city parks are part of a parks and recreation master plan that has been created, and after it was produced and further considerable discussion beyond that on how to prioritize some of the projects, the Glasgow Common Council agreed to put $500,000 in the budget for the current fiscal year that began July 1 to cover improvements to Twyman and Gorin parks, because they are the oldest, and then the other parks would be in line in subsequent years.
Playground equipment has also been purchased, and Furlong said it cost just shy of $93,000, with installation. Delivery is expected in March, with installation to follow as soon as possible afterward, depending on the weather, Furlong said.
The Parks and Recreation Department will put the mulch there as well. The playground mulch, which he said is different than regular garden mulch, costs about $2,100 per load, and he estimates it will take about four loads between the two parks.
A Kentucky League of Cities grant of $3,000, with the city to match it with that same amount, will cover part of that, Furlong said. About $1,600 of that total $6,000 amount will be used to cover a piece of the Gorin Park playground equipment, according to April Russell, grant oversight manager for the city.
Aside from the coming playground at Gorin, the Glasgow EPB has also installed six new light poles there for added security. Discussion has called for two new bathroom facilities there, with one larger than the other. One would probably go in the green space between the tennis courts and basketball court, which is also near the main playground that will get the new equipment, and the other is likely to go toward the back of the park. There's also still some play equipment for children roughly 2 to 5 years old in that “back” area that is farthest from East Main Street. The same plan would apply to the two new shelters desired for Gorin in terms of placement and having one larger.
Furlong said that in addition to these things, discussion has continued about having security cameras in all the parks, starting with Twyman and Gorin and continuing to grow that as work on the other parks progresses.
“It looks like we'll be putting together a bid package on that soon,” he said.