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BE Council OKs $53,000 purchase of playground equipment for parks

By Staff | Mar 24, 2013

This photo from a company brochure shows the new playground equipment that will be installed in Putnam Park in Blue Earth this summer.

Kids in Blue Earth are going to have some new playground equipment to play on, thanks to a decision by the City Council at their meeting Monday night.

The council voted unanimously to proceed with new equipment both at the 14th Street softball diamond park and at Putnam Park.

And, they voted to go with the full recommendation of the Park and Rec Committee, to the tune of nearly $60,000.

The actual numbers include $6,650 for equipment at the 14th Street ball fields, plus $5,080 for colored rubberized mulch under the equipment.

A larger structure at Putnam Park comes in at $20,998 for the equipment and $10,247 for the colored rubberized mulch.

In both cases, the council could have chosen much lesser expensive wood mulch (a fourth the cost) or black rubber (two-thirds the cost) but went with the best.

Additional costs such as tax, filter rock and landscape cloth, plus installation, will take the total to $53,000.

The council questioned whether the funds were available in the budget and Kathy Bailey said they were not.

“We took this expense out of the regular budget and put it in to capital funding we are going to bond for,” she reported. “We reserved a $60,000 total for playground equipment in the bond funds, so this is under that amount.”

Councilman Glenn Gaylord said he and councilwoman Chelsey Haase are on the Park and Rec Committee and felt this equipment was clearly the best choice.

“We wanted it to be usable for younger kids, ages 2 to 12,” he says. “This style stood out to us, plus it was on sale.”

Public Works supervisor Jamison Holland told the council the new equipment will be installed where the old playground had been located.

“We had to remove most of the older items due to safety issues,” he says. “Right now there is just one old swing set left at Putnam Park.”

In a related issue, the council decided to not follow another recommendation from the Park and Rec Committee.

It dealt with charging a $100 fee for reserving either of the two new picnic shelters in Putnam and Steinberg parks.

Several councilmen felt the fee was too steep and they would be more comfortable with it being $50, and passed a motion to cut the recommended amount in half.

Plus, councilmen were not sure it would be fair to charge people who reserved the shelter, while others who used it without reserving it would pay nothing.

However, in the end they went with the reservation fee.

The money would go towards covering costs to clean the shelters after use and haul away garbage.

In other business at Monday’s meeting, the council:

The council debated an ordinance concerning the types of materials which could be used in construction of a garage.

Mayor Rick Scholtes felt the ordinance was not clear on specific types of materials allowed, and the matter was sent back to committee for further “fine tuning.”

Decided the next work session, on April 1, will be devoted to discussion of the future of the burn site.