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Pinson moving forward with park project

By Lee Weyhrich

PINSON — Jane Ross of Goodwyn Mills Cawood, the architecture firm for the Pinson park project, was at Thursday’s Pinson City Council meeting to answer questions about the project.

The questions on the agenda specifically involved the splash pads and the playgrounds.

As it stands, the playgrounds are estimated to cost the city $80,000, with $60,000 of that going to equipment. While the playgrounds, one for younger children and another for children ages 5 to 12, feature an array of equipment, they are missing a classic playground staple. Councilwoman Joy McCain expressed concern that nowhere on the plan was a traditional swing set. A solution for this might be to expand one playground area or replace a covered seating area, Ross said.

Councilman Robbie Roberts also expressed concerns over the cost of the playground equipment and installation. Roberts is pushing for KaBoom!, a nonprofit group that organizes volunteers for community playground projects, to organize this playground project. KaBoom! would be able to handle procurement and oversight for the playground equipment and installation. This would reduce the cost to a fraction of that $60,000 amount. Work on the playground could be completed in a day, the equipment would be more cost efficient, and it would be a great community organization project, he said.

This graphic shows the particulars of the park.
file photo

Roberts said the council might be able to supplement some of the remaining cost with a grant to further reduce the price.

Mayor Hoyt Sanders suggested making the playground equipment and the swing sets alternative projects while the council did further study into the feasibility of the KaBoom! plan. The prepared areas for the playground would still be finished as planned for the estimated $20,000.

This brought up the issue of the material proposed for the ground cover of the playground. The plans currently include the use of a loose wood-based product. Several people expressed concern on whether having loose ground cover was a good idea, including Roberts and Councilwoman Dawn Tanner. Both expressed concerns that the loose bark would become migratory, possibly interfering with the nearby splash pad. The loose covering might also need constant maintenance due to wear and displacement.

While the bark playground covering might be cheaper short term, Sanders asked Ross to look into the price difference between the annual upkeep of the bark versus a more costly upfront surface, such as a matting material, that would not need maintenance and would not have as many pitfalls.

At least one park attraction is in the early stages of production. Tom Monroe, the designer of the frisbee disc golf course for the park, said the course has been drawn up and the proposed course is being surveyed.

“What we’ve done is design a family-friendly golf course,” Monroe said. “One of the aspects we had in mind for doing this was future use for a tournament.”

The course will feature 12 holes, which may seem like an odd number to traditional golfers, but that number is ideal for sanctioned Professional Disc Golf Association tournaments. A PDGA tournament requires players to play through 36 holes.

“I’m really excited you are putting this in and I think people are really going to like it,” Monroe said.

Ross was also enthusiastic about the course and talked about how it threaded through open and wooded areas of the park.

With the planning of the course well under way, one change was made to the walking track. Roberts suggested the council add two more park bench sites adjacent to the trail for rest stops.

Ross suggested the city get the bases for the benches installed, but make the installation of the benches themselves a community project. The council voted to install the two extra bases for benches. The other items discussed will be revisited at a later time as more information becomes available.

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