Monday, April 10, 2000

Playground Renovated

Playground Renovated
New structures replaced outdated equipment at Pleasant Ridge
The Ann Arbor News
By Pamela Appea

Saline, Michigan—Members of the Pleasant Ridger Playpark committee, a subgroup of the school’s parent group, said the first phase of its community project was completed last week.

The playground, adjacent to Pleasant Ridge Elementary School, now has several new structures, including a multi-see saw and a 13-ring traverse.

Before renovation began in September, some of the playground’s equipment were not up to state code, said committee member Wendy Beardsley.

Committee member Khris Ortman said some of the old playground equipment was designed and built as far back as the 1950s.

The playground’s old monkey bar and “spider’s web” structure were removed, committee members said. A swing set was renovated and moved to another part of the playground. And the gravel and other hard surfaces were replaced by 12-18 inches of wood chips underneath all new and remaining playground structures, committee members said.

With the aid of volunteers and community residents, seedling trees and bulbs were planted in the park area.

Committee members including Beardsley, Ortman and Melissa Phillips said the challenge now is in raising enough money to complete the next two phases.

“Given the fact that it is a community park, we would like to see area business, civic and corporate help in our quest for funds to build this park.” Ortman said.

Discussions on the park started during the mid-‘90s, said Beardsley, who served as a Pleasant Ridge PTA president. The project finally got under way when a special PTA committee was formed in January.

Beardsley credits the support of Sue Palmer, principal of Pleasant Ridge Elementary School, and other residents and supporters.

Phase two of the park project will include a new handicap-accessible wood structure. Ortman said the committee plans to order the structure, which will include slides, rope games and fort structures, by Feb. 1.

Phase three of the project will focus on developing the playground’s so-called “passive” space. The planned space, located directly behind the elementary school, may include a grassy area, additional trees, a gazebo and benches, committee members said. The area, said playground designer, Jonathan Dreyfuss, will encompass an estimated 20,000 square feet.

Committee members said they’re trying to raise an additional $39,5000 for the final two stages of the playpark project.

“We need money,” Beardsley said.

Ortman said that although all committee members were initially “appalled” at the high costs of playground equipment, they decided to go ahead with the investment.

This equipment just costs a lot of money, especially to make it handicap-accessible. But it absolutely is worth it,” she said.

Ortman said phase two has an estimated cost of $45,000, with an estimated cost of $26,000 for phase three. Anticipated revenue from the school district and the Pleasant Ridge PTA will provide $31,500 in funding by July 2000, Ortman said.

“As we proceed with the phases, we need to make sure we have total support. There may be people who need more information. We do have to take what they say into consideration,” Beardsley said.

But she said that phase three may need to be scaled down if committee members don’t gather enough money.

“If it looks like we have difficulty, we need to rethink phase three,” Beardsley said.

To date, the three-phase project’s estimated cost is $106,000, committee members said.

Originally published 2000