The Park Rapids Parks and Beautification Board on Aug. 10 heard an offer to donate secondhand playground equipment for a play area in the Kaywood neighborhood.
Elmer Schoon of 608 Forest View Ave. said he purchased three pieces of heavy, plastic playground equipment at a city surplus sale. He described the equipment as a slide sized for children ages 7 and younger, a slide for ages 3 and younger, and a rocking toy.
Schoon said the equipment would have to be firmly anchored to the ground. He also presented a sketch of a proposed play area in the Kaywood addition, including fencing and a path.
“I’ve got neighbors around with little children,” he said. “One night, they came by and said, ‘They haven’t got anything at the park. We go over there, and the kids got nothing to do.’ That’s how it came about.”
He said neighborhood residents have offered to help raise funds for the playground by holding garage sales and bake sales. “They’re into it,” he said, estimating that about eight families in the Kaywood addition have children aged 2-11 years.
Parks board chair Sue Cutler said the board will need to know more about the city’s donation policy and standards for playground equipment before moving forward. City Planner Andrew Mack said he would research the standards and ask public works maintenance employee Jim Simpson evaluate the site and equipment.
“We’ll work on this further,” said Cutler, also suggesting holding a neighborhood meeting.
Tennis courts update
Kathy Peterson with the Park Rapids Tennis Association reported that volunteers repaired cracks in the tennis courts at Depot Park, half of which are owned by the city and half by the public school district.
Peterson said materials for the repairs cost approximately $900. It was noted that the city had committed $300 toward the project, with costs to be shared by the schools. Mack said either he or Public Works Superintendent Scott Burlingame would bring a request to the city council to pay for the city’s remaining share of the project.
Mack also presented a revised proposal by city engineer Jon Olson for engineering services toward replacing the Depot Park tennis courts. Once an engineering plan is in hand, the city can move forward with bidding for the actual project.
Mack said the project engineering would cost $43,500, plus $4,500 for soil borings to be funded separately.
It was noted that the county committed $5,000 toward the project in 2019, with the city covering 20 percent, a potential land and water conservation grant being sought to cover half, and the tennis association raising the remaining funds. .
Also, Peterson noted, the county is considering making another donation out of its fiscal 2021 parks budget. With tennis association pledges and a $2,500 grant from the Northwest Minnesota Foundation, she added, “The boring is covered.”
Parks board member Barb Thomason recommended scheduling the borings for the week of Oct. 19, after the middle school tennis season ends and the varsity team can get by with four of the eight courts.
Cutler moved to recommend city council approval of a task order to Olson’s firm, Apex Engineering Group, for engineering services on replacing the Depot tennis courts. The motion passed unanimously.