Split council OKs playground
Crisp, three others think $88K price tag too high
June 11. 2013 3:51PM
Dell Rapids is getting a new playground in its park but half the City Council isn’t happy about how much it’s going to cost.
The existing Rainbow Play System structure in the City Park doesn’t meet city insurance standards and for the past six years the council has been planning for a 2013 replacement. The project moved into its final stages Monday, June 3, but not before Mayor Scott Fiegen cast the tie-breaking vote to go ahead with the $88,000 project.
City Administrator Justin Weiland told the council the City received three bids; and based on quality, size, ADA standards and cost of the proposed playground equipment, the playground committee, made up of city employees and councilor Craig Lauritzen, recommended Dakota Fence and Landscape Structures’ $68,000 bid.
The project includes an additional $20,000 for pouring cement and providing wood chips beneath and around the play set.
Dakota Fences’ bid was lowest – the other two were both $70,000.
The project will cost Dell Rapids taxpayers $50,000 with the additional $38,000 covered by federal grant dollars.
Since learning the existing play set would need to be replaced about five years, the council has set aside about $5,000 each year in a playground replacement fund, which has grown to about $26,000. The City’s 2013 budget also set aside monies - $23,360 - from the park department budget to help facilitate the project.
Councilor Mark Crisp said he was concerned with high costs and suggested money might be better spent elsewhere – possibly on sidewalks in needed areas.
“How did we decide to spend $88,000? It blows my mind,” he said. “I’m having a hard time spending $88,000 on a play system and we haven’t got $30,000 to put the sidewalks in.”
Crisp said the planned playground is much larger than the existing structure.
But Lauritzen said it ought to be, considering how much Dell Rapids has grown since 1997, when the Rainbow Play System was installed.
“If you hang out in the park on a weekend all summer you see how much is going on,” he said.
In agreement with Lauritzen, Councilor Dave Sommerveld said although the new elementary school has absorbed some of the recent city growth, the City Park is the primary gathering spot for children in Dell Rapids.
“Every growing community has stuff that falls a part … and if you want people to come back to the community you have to have quality stuff, one way or the other,” he said.
Councilors voting to approve the project were Lauritzen, Sommerveld, Gary Haak and Chad Andrews.
Weiland said he expects city crews to begin removing the task of installing the new equipment shortly after children head back to school later this summer.