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Parks district buys playground for $95K

Pictured above is an artist’s rendering of a new playground bought Wednesday by South Whidbey Parks & Recreation District, to be installed later this summer near the soccer field sports complex on Langley Road. - Drawing courtesy of ArchiteCreation
Pictured above is an artist’s rendering of a new playground bought Wednesday by South Whidbey Parks & Recreation District, to be installed later this summer near the soccer field sports complex on Langley Road.
— image credit: Drawing courtesy of ArchiteCreation

LANGLEY — South Whidbey Parks & Recreation District commissioners voted unanimously Wednesday to purchase a new playground from the ArchiteCreation company of Seattle.

The playground will cost $95,048, which includes tax, freight and installation. It will be erected near the new pavilions to be built at the soccer sports complex on Langley Road and will feature slide chutes, swings, climbing ramps, towers and overhead ladders.

The structure will be made of recycled plastic and metal with plastic-coated perforated steel decks and Northwest-sourced molded medium-density polyethylene with stainless steel slide chutes.

The new playground will be surrounded by landscaping from Langley designer Sarah Birger and complement architect Rick Brown’s new pavilions.

The installation depends on coordination between the two and ArchiteCreation.

“This is extreme-duty, municipal-service grade playground equipment with an extended-duty service lifetime and locally available replacement parts,” said company spokesman Geoff Robinson.

The equipment and site furnishings are manufactured in Portland, Ore.

The company has built similar playgrounds for the cities of Everett and Edmonds, Seattle Parks & Recreation, the Tulalip Tribes and the Lummi Nation school. Robinson said the playground will earn critical acclaim.

“Once they see the way we do business and how we operate, the parks district and the community will be very satisfied,” Robinson added.

Park Commissioner Allison Tapert said the structure will be a nice addition to the park.

“It allows us to have another area for kids to play, something for them to do while their older sisters and brothers play soccer,” she said.

Meanwhile, no action was taken on Castle Park.

The 17-year-old Alaskan yellow cedar park centerpiece has suffered over the years from the combined effects of weather and children. Earlier district attempts to replace it with a “plastic wood” structure met with stiff community resistance.

And still does.

Katya Fritzsche of Langley appeared before commissioners Wednesday to express some concerns.

“Like many parents, I think we should repair it, maybe one piece at a time, with plastic if we have to,” she said. “Keeping something built by volunteers that most people want to save seems the right thing to do.”

Parks director Terri Arnold tried to reassure Fritzsche.

“In the next month, we plan to meet with two local contractors who have said they can ‘renew’ the park as needed, but not all at once,” she said. “Certainly, no decisions have been made.”

The playground’s purchase was part of a larger effort by the park district to upgrade facilities funded by the $1.6 million bond approved by voters in February.

Bond project manager Ron Young said the district is in the process of draining and irrigating the ballfields, building the new pavilion and shelter next to the soccer fields, constructing the new playground and other capital improvements.

He was impressed with the drainage contractor, Greenshield Systems.

“They’re a very professional and efficient outfit,” he said. “Their design allows use of the play area not long after installation.”

The trenching equipment doesn’t allow excavated spoils to contact the working surface, laser technology has been used to maintain accurate trenching depth and the drain tile is placed mechanically in an envelope filter.

Grounds supervisor Tom Fallon said if the weather stays wet, the grass will grow faster. In any case, the fields will be ready for soccer in September.

Other elements to be updated at the community park this summer and fall include the skate park, the trailhead access road and turnaround near the upper soccer field and sports fields improvements.

Jeff VanDerford can be reached at 221-5300 or jvanderford@southwhidbeyrecord.com.

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