2017-09-21 / Front Page

Playground plan gets go-ahead from councilors

First part slated to be finished by end of May

A three-dimensional rendering of the proposed new playground at the library. The new facility includes a 26-foot-tall lighthouse, a 50-foot-long zip line and a pirate ship. A three-dimensional rendering of the proposed new playground at the library. The new facility includes a 26-foot-tall lighthouse, a 50-foot-long zip line and a pirate ship. With a handful of animated children in the audience, the town councilors Monday night unanimously approved a $381,000 playground design that will replace the 27-year-old park on North Road.

“You’ll probably have a couple of grown adults there playing with you,” Councilwoman Mary Meagher told the young audience.

The presentation was made by O’Brien & Sons, a Massachusetts firm that specializes in site planning for outdoor recreation. O’Brien is the regional representative for manufacturer Landscape Structures, which will custom-build the equipment.

While the overall cost exceeds the original budget, the parks department will begin work on the first phase, which is estimated to cost $257,000. That money, including $75,000 in taxpayer dollars, already is secured from state grants and donations to the Ryan Bourque fund. Andy Wade, recreation director, has launched a capital campaign to raise $124,000 for the second phase.

The playground will include a nautical theme, including a 26-foot-tall lighthouse that acts as a centerpiece. In the first phase, that structure, which costs $112,000, will feature enclosed slides and a pyramid made from cargo nets for climbing. The lighthouse has two decks — at 6 feet and 12 feet.

“The height certainly draws your eyes up,” consultant Meghan O’Brien said. “It’s pretty impactful.”

This section, along with a 50-foot-long zip line, is for kindergartners and elementary students.

For younger children, a pirate ship with slides and netting is estimated to cost $63,000. Like the lighthouse, O’Brien said, the structure has an “upwards visual” impact with a mast rising well above the play area.

“There’s also room for a lot of underneath play,” she said. “Younger kids like to get down in cozy places.”

Finally, there will be a separate area for swings. The first set will have six, including two bucket seats, three standard seats and an infant seat. Next door to that will be an oodle swing, which is a disc that can accommodate a handful of children at once.

“It’s a great inclusive piece so that kids can play together,” O’Brien said.

The second phase calls for an additional $44,000 for the lighthouse that will incorporate a separate structure that connects via a draw bridge with monkey bars underneath. Wade also plans to purchase a $24,000 Global Motion structure that rotates 360 degrees with climbing nets. According to O’Brien, it’s like a modern-day merry-go-round with a speed governor. In the corner closest to the Jamestown Arts Center, this phase also incorporates musical instruments, including a metallophone, contrabass chimes and pagoda bells.

The noise, Wade assured neighbors, is more soothing than distracting.

“It’s not clank, clank, clank, clank,” he said. “The sounds are tiny.”

Matt Bolles, former recreation director, sat on the committee that was tasked with designing the playground. He said the panel was looking at three points: tradition, environment and safety.

First, he said the nautical theme pays respect to the original inspiration for the playground.

“I’ve been so impressed with this committee,” he said. “They were so conscientious of what took place in 1990.”

Environmentally, this playground is following in the footsteps of the 1990 park that was groundbreaking for its time in regards to being green, he said. The O’Brien proposal includes a lighthouse made from 56 percent recycled material and a pirate ship made from 37 percent recycled material. Also, the company will plant 58 trees to offset the carbon footprint of the project.

Finally, Bolles praised the safety of this design.

“This playground is going to be the safest playground that we could possibly build,” he said.

Wade hopes to have the first phase completed by Memorial Day. The town is saving roughly $60,000 by having public workers do some of the installation.

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