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Bainbridge parks board moves up tot lot projects

Bainbridge parks officials have approved the advanced purchase of a playground structure for the Arron Tot Lot. Another new playground toy will be installed at the Madison Tot Lot.  - Image courtesy of the Bainbridge Island Metro Park & Recreation District
Bainbridge parks officials have approved the advanced purchase of a playground structure for the Arron Tot Lot. Another new playground toy will be installed at the Madison Tot Lot.
— image credit: Image courtesy of the Bainbridge Island Metro Park & Recreation District

Improvements at two tot lots will be done this year, and not next year, in a budget swap that will turn out to be a real deal for Bainbridge Island parks.

Parks commissioners have approved an amendment to the district’s capital improvements budget that will delay spending at Rotary Park this year and instead move up two tot lot projects that can be finished in 2012.

And given the tough time that companies are having selling playground gear amid government cutbacks in orders nationwide, parks officials said they’ll get an even greater deal by buying playground equipment now.

Terry Lande, executive director for the Bainbridge Island Metro Park & Recreation District, spelled out the swap for parks commissioners at their last meeting in June.

“This coming year we had planned on spending $50,000 on a playground structure at Rotary Park,” Lande said.

That work has been delayed until 2013, so funding available for the project will be used elsewhere, he said.

“In 2013, we had planned on doing two playgrounds, one at Madison Tot Lot, one at Aaron Tot Lot. But what we’d like to do is just basically reverse them now,” he said.

Funding that was budgeted for Rotary Park this year would be spent on the tot lots instead, and the money budgeted in 2013 for the Madison and Aaron would be spent on the Rotary Park improvements.

“What it allow us to do is to get some things on the ground done,” Lande said, “rather than saying, oh gosh, we have to bump it all to next year.”

It’s a buyer’s market right now for playground equipment, he added, and noted the district expects to get savings of roughly one-third of the cost. And then some.

“It’s a tough market right now for playground structures, for obvious reasons. All government entities cutting them all out,” Lande said.

The district has plans to purchase playground structures from SITELines, an Everett-based company.

The Madison Tot Lot structure would have a double zip slide and a second zip slide, multiple climbers, and adventure bridge, plus features such as toad stool seats, thread the needle and a turning bar.

The Arron Tot Lot play structure would have a dueling wave zip slide, a rockscape on one end, and features such as a titled whirlwind seat, a scrunch bar, crawl tube, and scramble-up and chain-link climbers.

The Madison Tot Lot playground was valued at $22,100, but the discounted price is $13,910.

The Aaron Tot Lot structure was priced at $28,460, but the discounted price is $19,510.

“And then they are also willing to throw in, to try to move these products, free shipping. Which I understand is probably the first time that’s ever happened in that industry. Plus all the chips for the fall-zone area. Plus they will pay for the installation of curbing.”

Lande said the two projects had an estimated combined cost savings of about $18,000.

Park commissioners unanimously agreed to amend the capital improvements budget so the tot lot improvements could move forward.

“My granddaughter will say thank you,” Parks Commissioner Ken DeWitt said, for the Madison Tot Lot improvements.

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