City describes proposal for second phase of Summit Avenue park renovations

City landscape architect Megan Gardner explains the plan for the park renovations at a public meeting June 12.

City landscape architect Megan Gardner explains the plan for the park renovations at a public meeting June 12 as Parks Superintendent Wendy Nilsson, right, listens.

Now that the community gardens are in place at the Summit Avenue park, the city is prepared to move ahead with Phase Two of the renovations.

That’s the message that Parks Department Superintendent Wendy Nilsson and landscape architect Megan Gardner brought to a public meeting sponsored by SNA June 12 in the park.

Speaking with about 20 people gathered in the playground area, the two described the specific changes included in the city’s plan, focusing on safety and accessibility for all ages, as well as the procedures needed to implement them.

The renovations include:

– Replacement of all guardrails of play structure with pipe barriers, replacement of clatter bridge with new clatter bridge and pipe barriers, and repainting of all vertical posts and landings with metal paint;

– Installation of 16-inch high hardwood log retaining and seating wall plus lining of play booster side with filter fabric offset 8 feet from end of slide;

– Installation of “smart play nook” for children up to two years old, including a little house made of safe, bright-colored plastic with a ramp into it, open door/archways and surrounded by artificial grass;

– Installation of 6-foot long wood play bridge with dry-stream boulders;

– Installation of a little lending library;

– Planting of a flowering tree;

– Building bench surrounding tree;

– Repainting posts and beam for existing two-bay swing set;

– Removal and repurposing of sand for new sand play area;

– Removal of wood chips and replacement with fiber mulch to 12-inch depth;

– Addition of play area signage.

There was much discussion among the meeting participants about the artificial turf with the consensus that the parks people would determine the best option with the possibility of later replacement if it proves ineffective.

Nilsson and Gardner reiterated that the plastic structures and toys that accumulate in the park no longer meet safety requirements and will be removed, but that signs will be posted to explain why.

The cost of the new renovations was put at about $30,000 and will be met by about $12,000 in grant money from Miriam Hospital that SNA is holding plus city funds augmented by local fund raising. Some of the improvements in the original renovation plan proved to be too expensive, Nilsson said.

A new sign will be installed with the name of the park and Parks Department contact information, plus a new bulletin board may be constructed.

The project is designed to be completed by the end of summer, but the park will not be closed during the work, with just certain areas temporarily cordoned off.

Nilsson encouraged residents to contact the Parks Department with suggestions or questions.

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