Brownstown Park Board recommending purchase of playground equipment



Three items were determined to be the most in need of redoing or replacing at the Brownstown Park.

The Brownstown Park Board listed those as playground equipment, the pool play feature and the softball field.

While the town’s budget for the park can’t afford all three at once, Councilwoman Sharon Koch, who serves as a liaison to the park board, said the board needed to figure out the top priority. Then they could start applying for grants.

After some discussion, the board felt the most-needed item is playground equipment.

The park currently has three areas with playground equipment, and the board agreed it may be best to get rid of the pieces near the concession stand and replace the equipment in front of the indoor shelter house and next to the volleyball court.

Safety is a big issue with the current equipment. Kevin Hanner, the park superintendent and a member of the park board, said he has put tape around the edges of some pieces and doctored up a slide.

“It’s turned to where it’s V’ing upward. If you don’t keep it down, a kid could come down here and get hurt bad,” Hanner said of the slide.

Park board President Richard Burrell said the playgrounds near the indoor shelter house and concession stand were put in 20 years ago and are made of recycled plastic, while Hanner said the one near the volleyball court was purchased used and installed five years ago.

“You want it safe for the children. I would say if it’s dangerous, it ought to be just taken down,” Burrell said.

“Everything that’s being played on needs to be safe. Otherwise, we’re putting ourselves in liability,” Koch said.

Hanner said the playgrounds are used the most by people because they are available year-round. The pool is only open May through August, and the softball field has only been used in the warm months by some local youth teams for practices but not for games.

“People still say we have one of the best parks around,” Hanner said. “Everybody enjoys this park. They come from all over because it’s a safe park.”

Initially, park board member Brian Wheeler said he thought the softball field should be the top priority.

“If that were to be redone, I do think it could start bringing in money from the rental fee and everything,” he said. “It would actually start helping make money. … I’m starting to think of ways to generate more money for the park.”

Koch said the field has not been bringing in any money for the town, and the two baseball fields at the park are maintained by and bring in money for the Brownstown Baseball Association.

Burrell said when the softball field was used by a men’s slow-pitch league and others in the past, there was a rental fee, and that money helped cover electric bills and other expenses.

When the park board decided to place priority on the playground equipment, Councilman Mark Reynolds agreed.

“I would think you’d want to take care of what we’ve already got in place, what’s being used. That would be my priority, I would think,” he said. “Then we can hope and keep our fingers crossed we find a grant to take care of the others. I would think you’d want to take care of your playground equipment that the kids are currently using.”

Koch said she will share the park board’s recommendation with the town council during its meeting Monday night. If that’s approved, the park board will begin pursuing grant opportunities.

Burrell said the equipment for the playground in front of the shelter house was around $63,000 when it was put in 20 years ago.

The play feature for the pool could cost around $100,000, and installing drainage pipe, sod, tile and fencing and doing excavating at the softball field would be nearly $50,000. The latter amount doesn’t include electrical work, which would involve relocating light poles.

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