Finding funds for fun

By on March 4, 2011

Village considers how to update playground at community center
by Lynn Meredith
Elburn—The Village Board gave the OK for village officials to apply for an Open Space Land Acquisition and Development Grant from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources in order to replace playground equipment at the Elburn and Countryside Community Center playground. The grant would reimburse the village 50 percent of what it spends on equipment.

“If we spend $100,000, we get $50,000,” said Jenna Cook, a Public Works Department employee who has been researching the grant.

Cook inspects all the equipment annually to appraise its condition. She said that the community center’s playground has been getting close to not passing the inspection. It is 25-year-old equipment that is outdated and rusting, she said.

Cook presented three options for replacing the equipment and removing the sand that has become infested with underground wasps. The first option, for $50,000, would make the playground half the size it is now. The second option would reduce its size by about a third and cost $70,000. The third option, for $100,000, would be a one-to-one replacement.

The playground is used by two classes of pre-school and day care in the summer. The wasps have stung the children, and there’s no way to get rid of the pests without removing the sand and replacing it with wood fiber or rubber chips.

“From the safety standpoint, we’ve got to do something,” Village President Dave Anderson said. “But to what extent do we want to commit funds?”

The Parks Fund currently has about $25,000 in it. Board members were in agreement that they wanted to look into the third option because it provides the best for the community.

“If we’re going to do it, let’s do it up right,” Trustee Jeff Walter said. “There are places (other funds) where we can get the money and get it done for the community.”

The grant is not due until July 1, giving the board time to consider how to find the funding it would need to purchase the playground equipment.