Veterans Memorial Park in St. Peter is about to get a little more exciting for kids.
The city anticipates it will cost $140,000 to put in a new playground at the park, and the City Council gave staff permission to move forward. The cost will be mitigated by a $50,000 donation from GameTime, the company that will provide and install the equipment.
At its Oct. 28 meeting, councilors authorized the purchase, delivery and installation of the equipment. The council already budgeted $100,000 for park improvements in 2020, which will become available when the Community Center debt is retired. Another $40,000 was budgeted from the city's Parks capital improvement plan.
The expected final cost to GameTime is $99,000, with the manufacturer paying the rest at an estimated $50,000.
There are three main components to the planned improvements at the park. The first is the 2- to 5-year-old child play area (west end), where a "Scott's Adventure" play structure is recommended. On the east end is the 5- to 12-year-old child play area, where a "Karen's Cove" play structure is recommended.
The third area is the physical divider structure between the two play areas where an artificial turf is planned. That divider structure is not currently funded. Since funding for the divider structure ($22,000) isn't available at this time, a placeholder in the layout design has been allowed, Public Works Director Pete Moulton said. Color selection was also recommended by the Parks Board. The "Atlantic" color scheme is expected to complement the pool surroundings and adjacent facilities.
The 50% grant from GameTime is available for only the play structures and is dependent on the city authorizing purchase of the proposed equipment and GameTime receiving payment before the end of October 2019, which is why the council needed to approve the playground at the Oct. 28 meeting. Construction is not expected until May and/or June 2020.
The Parks Board recently examined and prioritized five capital needs for parks in the community and proposed years in which the enhancements should come. 1) Playground Equipment (2020); 2) Parking , Trails and Sidewalks (2021); 3) Shade Structures/Passive Picnic Areas (2022); 4) Sports Activities (2023); and 5) Lighting/Scoreboards (2024).
Other parks considered for new playgrounds included, in order of priority, Stone's Park, Mill Pond, McGill, and Minnesota Square. Ultimately, the Parks Board determined the playground most needed was at Veterans Park, which is heavily used during the spring, summer and fall seasons.
In 2020, the board is likely to look at potential improvements to parking, trails and sidewalks at parks in the community and make recommendations in that area to the council for 2021 construction.