The structure is closer to being finished.

The structure is closer to being finished.

Things are looking up for KidsUp! playground

  • Monday, June 7, 2021 1:30am
  • News

Things are looking up for KidsUp! Playground at Battle Point Park.

The Bainbridge Island Metropolitan Parks Board again approved the same $50,000 in funding for the project Thursday night.

Sound confusing? It’s really not. The board earlier had approved the funding, but ended up not needing to spend the money because the BI Parks Foundation raised the money instead.

However, because of an increase in materials costs, mostly due to the price of surfacing, those funds again were needed.

“I want this thing open, want the kids on there,” said Dawn Janow, parks board chair.

Dan Hamlin, Parks Services Division director, said community donations through the parks foundation equals almost $522, 575 – so the project is $67,000 short. A donor has pledged $17,000, so if the parks board again approve the $50K the project would be set.

Options were: again approve the funding, continue to raise money through the foundation or decrease the quality of the surfacing. Hamlin said they are looking at other potential cost savings so they may not have to spend the entire $50K.

The new playground will feature a “universal design” for the enjoyment of kids of all abilities, regardless of physical limitations. All play elements will meet the latest standards for inclusion and accessibility. The playground and its central “ferry boat” play structure will be fabricated with durable materials for a much longer projected lifespan than the original playground.

The KidsUp! Playground was created in 2001 with the vision, fundraising and all-hands-on-deck efforts of a generation of Bainbridge Islanders. The playground was deteriorating and needed foundational repair and an input of ideas, the foundation’s website says. To donate, go to biparksfoundation.org/project-highlights/kidsup/

Also at the Zoom meeting, parks district Administrative Division director Amy Swenson gave an update on the budget. Considering limitations caused by COVID-19 restrictions, Swenson said the district still has been able to collect 70% of its expected funds from camping and 75% from other revenues, thanks to a Sakai grant, COVID funds and other monies. That doesn’t even include the donation of 10 acres next to Strawberry Park for mountain bike trails or other non-cash donations.

Swenson explained that payroll costs are way down, but that will change some this summer as staff is hired as more programs are allowed. She expects the park district to have at least $3.1 million in reserves by the end of the year.

Park district executive director Terry Lande asked the board if it wants to meet in person July 1, considering Gov. Jay Inslee is expected to lift COVID restrictions by then. It also was suggested that people could meet in person or online.

“Some people are on the fence about their comfort levels coming back,” said Mark Benishek, director of recreation for the park district.

They decided not to meet in person until July 15 to make sure the public gets the word about it.

Bob Russell gave the only public comment. He said he is against the park district putting lights up on the soccer fields at Battle Point Park. He said that issue came up when the fields were built years ago, and, “We protested as a neighborhood.” He said lights would bring more noise and traffic. “It’s almost like having a hotel placed at Battle Point Park.” He called that area a rural community with narrow roads. “We just can’t take more and more traffic,” he said. Besides, if that happens, more will follow. “The goal posts always move,” he said, adding next lights would want to be added at the pickleball, tennis and baseball facilities. Then they would want restrooms and food truck service. Pretty soon there would be a “commercial venue going on.”

The entrance to KidsUp! playground.

The entrance to KidsUp! playground.

A drawing of what the overall facility would look like.

A drawing of what the overall facility would look like.

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