Residents have two opportunities this month to weigh in on plans for the $225,000 rebuild of the Reed Road Park playground.
On June 12, city officials collected feedback at an open house as part of an effort to formulate plans for the construction of a new playground at Reed Road Park, 3855 Reed Road.
Jeff Anderson, planning and development manager for the Upper Arlington Parks and Recreation Department, said residents were divided at the earlier meeting and through an online survey the city posted between traditional and contemporary styles of playground designs.
"On Aug. 26, (Upper Arlington) City Council approved legislation to enter into contract with DWA Recreation for the replacement of the Reed Road playground," Anderson said. "DWA Recreation is currently developing three potential designs based on input received during our public outreach back in June.
"Our goal is to have these posted online for residents to review by (Monday,) Sept. 16."
The designs also will be shared during an open house 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Sept. 19 at the Municipal Services Center, 3600 Tremont Road, Anderson said.
The city replaced the playground at Westover Park in 2018 and at Northam Park the previous year.
According to Anderson, city staff inspects all the public playgrounds in Upper Arlington twice a year.
He said the staff is certified through the National Recreation and Parks Association to perform playground inspections, and noted the association provides "comprehensive up-to-date training on playground safety issues including hazard identification, equipment specifications, surfacing requirements and risk management methods."
Anderson said Reed Road Park is up next for upgrades as part of the city's ongoing strategy to evaluate park playgrounds for safety and accessibility.
"The playgrounds are thoroughly inspected twice a year," Anderson said. "However, parks and forestry staff give each playground area a quick look twice per week.
"They will also schedule a special inspection if a resident contacts the department with any concerns."
Anderson said the Reed Road Park playground is 17 years old and has seen high use.
"The typical life span of a public playground is 15 to 20 years, though this can vary depending on the intensity of use, type of equipment and other factors," he said. "The Reed Road playground that is being replaced was installed in 2002 but has been heavily used by children attending the day camp at the adjacent shelter house, as well as other park users and was ready to be replaced."
In addition to seeking to modernize park playgrounds and make sure they're safe and accessible to children with disabilities, Anderson said it's often easier to rebuild playgrounds because finding replacement parts for existing equipment can be challenging.
The contract with DWA Recreation calls for the new playground to cost approximately $225,000.
"Design for the playground will be finalized this fall," Anderson said. "Installation is scheduled to be complete by April of 2020."
Following Reed Road, the next playground likely to be upgraded is at Miller Park, Anderson said.
The playground at Miller Park designed for children 5 and younger was closed June 18 after staff noticed significant deterioration of some of the equipment's steel parts and rubber coating.
"We felt that it was important to proceed with the Reed Road playground since it was already scheduled for replacement," Anderson said. "We also felt that given the unique sloping terrain of the Miller Park playground, it was important that we take the time to develop an appropriate design for the playground's unique setting.
"While we are still developing the project schedule at this time, our hope is to move forward with the Miller Playground as soon as possible in 2020."