Veterans Memorial Park to get new playground equipment

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By Calen McKinney

Children who play at Veterans Memorial Park playground will soon get a treat.

A new piece of playground equipment that can accommodate about 50 children will soon be installed there. And the equipment will be made entirely from recycled plastics.

Magistrates agreed to purchase the equipment on Tuesday night at their regular Taylor County Fiscal Court meeting.

Magistrate Richard Phillips, who serves on the Planning, Parks and Recreation Committee, said the group recently met to discuss opening the park for the summer sporting season. Per contractual agreement, Campbellsville Baptist Church operates VMP on the county’s behalf.

At that meeting, committee members said they believe the playground equipment at VMP is very much in need of an upgrade.

On Tuesday, Phillips said plans to open the park for the season are going well. He said Taylor County Detention Center inmates are performing lots of labor at the park, from cleaning trash to stocking the restrooms.

“Everybody has worked together to get the park ready to roll,” he said.

Phillips said decaying railroad timbers and old crumb rubber have been removed from the VMP playground in an effort to make it safer and more attractive. He said grass will be reseeded and there is a large area available for some new playground equipment, should magistrates want to buy some.

Phillips said he asked representatives from Earthscapes Structures in Somerset and Bluegrass Recreational Products in Louisville to speak to magistrates about some proposals to update the equipment.

Scott Miller from Earthscapes said his company has been making recycled playground equipment since the 1990s. All of his products, he said, are made in Kentucky and from recycled plastics.

He said his products are maintenance friendly and last for many years. And when the equipment becomes outdated, he said, the entire structure can be recycled.

“This is truly a green product,” he said.

Miller’s first proposal totals $21,600. The grant for the project is $8,464, he said, and with installation, the total cost is $18,046.20.

His second proposal totals $19,600. The grant for that project deducts $7,688 from the cost.

Including installation, this equipment will cost $16,455.

If a repair was needed to his product, Miller said, it will be fixed within 10 days.

Miller’s first option requires 46x36 feet of open space. The second is 39x29 feet, to which Phillips said there is more than enough room for either option. Miller’s first option can accommodate 45 to 50 children at any time, he said. The second can handle 30 to 35.

Miller said certified professionals install all Earthscapes products. The company can also give instructions to install the equipment, which saves money.

Phillips said he spoke with the county’s insurance carrier, which recommends a company professionally install the equipment.

Steve Norton of Bluegrass Recreational Products said his company has been in business for 24 years and his equipment meets all safety standards. His equipment is also made of recycled products, he said, but is made of steel and not plastic.

Bluegrass products carry a limited warranty, he said, from a year to lifetime. He said his products also come in a variety of colors and are handicapped accessible.

Norton also presented two options to magistrates. The first totals $14,877. The second came in at $17,490, which does not include installation fees.

If damaged, he said, it could take two to three weeks for his company to repair the equipment.

Phillips said there is no money budgeted to purchase playground equipment at VMP, though he believes there is plenty of space available, and it would be good to get the equipment up-to-date.

“Do you all want to spend this type of money?” he asked magistrates. Magistrate Matt Pendleton said he likes the idea of a company offering a “green” grant. James Jones said he believes the purchase is a good one for the community and asked where the money to pay for it would come from in the county’s budget.

Taylor County Judge/Executive Eddie Rogers said there is money in the general fund that can be used for the purchase.

“If we’re gonna have a park, let’s have a park,” he said.

Taylor County Treasurer Melissa Williams suggested including the purchase in the 2013-2014 fiscal year budget. She said money can be taken out of surplus funds from this year’s budget to make the purchase.

Magistrates discussed having the Planning, Parks and Recreation Committee meet with Miller and Norton to see if their prices are their best offers.

“I’ll just ask, is this your bottom dollar?” Rogers said, to which they replied the quotes are.

Phillips made a motion to purchase the $18,046.20 option from Miller’s company, Earthscapes Structures. Jones seconded the motion. In a roll call vote, the motion was unanimously approved.

After some other discussion, magistrates agreed to have Phillips meet with Miller to prepare a proposal to refurbish the special needs playground equipment at VMP.

For more from Tuesday’s meeting, see Monday’s issue.