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Lanesboro School helping with playground equipment costs

Fri, Mar 28th, 2014
Posted in Lanesboro Education

The playground equipment at Sylvan Park will be updated in a special project taking place this summer. City Administrator David Todd attended the school board meeting on March 20 to discuss a cost-sharing agreement with the school district.

Todd explained the Park Board received donations in the amount of $75,000 for playground equipment some time ago, and that money has been held for that purpose. The Park Board has consulted with Flagship Recreation, which is a playground consultant company for Landscape Designs out of Delano, Minn. They also had a tour of the facility.

“We wanted to come up with something that was unique to the area,” explained Todd. “Something that will set Lanesboro apart.” He added that Lanesboro has a lot of tourists come to the area, and they would like to provide a structure that’s not “cookie cutter.”

Todd described panels with the Lanesboro Burro logo on one and a logo that was designed specifically for Sylvan Park on another.

“Our school is fantastic, our city is fantastic,” said Todd. “It’s a total civic pride thing going on.”

Charlie Colvin from Flagship Recreation showed the board the design plans for the new equipment. He spoke of the company’s major ideals in creating a great playground for kids. These include utilizing talents, which is critical to child development and helps them gain confidence. Innovation, as kids can get easily bored, and they need to stay interested and continually re-engage.

Colvin described one of the features of the equipment, the 50-foot long zip line. It’s designed to be safe, it goes both ways, and is smooth and durable on an enclosed track. He said the equipment is very durable, and a good fit for a large number of kids.

“There are multiple circuits, and multiple ways to use them,” said Colvin. There are different areas and levels for different age groups. “They are all playing together, but they are separated so there is no interacting in unsafe ways.”

According to Colvin, there is a lot of variety in the equipment to prevent boredom and keep things interesting. There are multiple climbers, ladders, and places to sit. The equipment helps kids learn as they develop their motor skills.

“A lot of thought and effort has gone into this final design,” said Colvin.

Todd said they have the option of having the equipment installed professionally by Flagship Recreation, or having volunteers install it for the city at a reduced cost. He added the city employees would be getting the area ready for the installation.

Chairperson Dave Ruen asked about the age and condition of the old equipment. Todd replied there are many spots in need of repair, including the slides and netting. The age was guessed to be between 15-20 years. Colvin said most cities are on a 15-year replacement cycle with their playgrounds. The swing set will remain, as it is still fairly new.

Todd said they don’t have all the numbers in as far as the cost of preparing the site and the difference in cost between having it professionally installed versus using volunteers. The total cost of the project is estimated to be around $130,000.

Board member Steve Snyder asked Todd if the donated $75,000 was coming off the top of the price and then the city and the district would share the remainder of the cost 50/50. Todd said the Park Board will be putting in $75,000, and that is the city’s share.

“I don’t know if that’s the right way to do it,” said Snyder. “The city doesn’t pay anything?”

Todd agreed that there was nothing budgeted for the city outside the donations.

Board member Dave Lawstuen commented that the city does pay for the maintenance and upkeep, and there is some value in that. The engineered wood fiber chips will need to be replaced completely every 8-10 years.

Colvin said the installers are booked through June. They would like to have the project done before Buffalo Bill Days, or at least before school starts in the fall. According to Colvin, the entire project should take about two weeks.

“Well, we’re not being backed into a corner, but it feels that way,” said Ruen. He said he didn’t want to hold up the project, but wanted to make sure they were doing the financially prudent thing.

After figuring in the work the city will be providing and the fact they will be maintaining the equipment, Ruen suggested the district allocate $45,000 for the project. Lawstuen suggested they add the stipulation that the equipment is installed professionally. If they city decides it will save enough money to have volunteers install it, the topic of a donation will be revisited. The board approved.

“I’m gracious for whatever you want to give,” said Todd.

Sports contracts

Sports contracts were approved for spring sports. John Smith will be the head golf coach, with Cody Hungerholt first assistant coach. Jared Pierce will be the head track coach, with Lori Anderson as first assistant. Also coaching track will be Joe Cullen, Riley Swier, Alex Aiken, and Anthony Brazee.

Other business

Students will be dismissed at 11:30 a.m. on the last day of school, June 2.

The 2014-2015 school calendar was approved, with September 2 being the first day of school.

The Scholarship Banquet will take place on April 27 at 6 p.m. at Eagle Bluff Environmental Center.

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