The public playground at Riverside Park in Mount Airy is on the brink of a major transition that could be described as sliding out the old and swinging in the new.
Existing equipment at the playground is scheduled to be removed Monday, according to city Parks and Recreation Director Catrina Alexander.
This is occurring in the wake of the Mount Airy Board of Commissioners voting on April 7 to fund a $105,427 repair/replacement project at the popular playground located on Riverside Drive.
It will include switching out existing wooden structures for powder-coated commercial equipment supplied by a company in Georgia.
“We have just received notification that the equipment will ship and be here June 13,” Alexander added Thursday, which is necessitating the scheduled removal of the older items at the playground on Monday.
The new custom-design items to be installed boast such names as sonic spinner, football spin-around, spring rider/police bike, lily pad weave and full bucket bay, along with others including a seesaw assembly. The life expectancy of the equipment is 20 to 25 years.
That is not the case with the “Build a Dream” playground now in place, which was constructed about 12 years ago through a massive volunteer effort by the community, fueled by donations from businesses and individuals.
But because of largely being a wooden facility, the existing setup — made up of various play stations — has several areas that are rotting and have fallen into disrepair or require constant repair, Alexander has said. Some parts of it are not usable at all because they do not meet modern standards or are inoperable.
The incoming equipment is certified by both the International Play Equipment Manufacturers Association and the Consumer Product Safety Commission, meeting or exceeding present safety guidelines, officials say.
Money for the project was included in this fiscal year’s budget approved in June of 2015.
Pickup of pickets
Alexander acknowledged the presence of pickets in the existing wooden fencing at the playground, noting that some contain names as a result of sponsorships by people and businesses when the Build a Dream playground originated.
After the removal of the pickets Monday along with the old equipment, those with names on pickets who would like to retrieve those items can do so next Tuesday through Friday at Riverside Park, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
It will take most of this month to get the new playground ready, Alexander indicated.
“With weather being a factor, it is our hope to have everything completed by the end of June and ready to kick off National Parks and Recreation Month in July.”
Tom Joyce may be reached at 336-415-4693 or on Twitter @Me_Reporter.