September 1, 2014

Work on new playground at Deep River Park gets underway

Expected to open by week of July 23

By Kevin Bunch
Staff Writer | news@arenacindependent.com
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DEEP RIVER TWP. — The Deep River Township Board received an update on a new playground coming to the Deep River Park during its meeting July 10.

Cathy Wilk of the Deep River Township Recreation Committee reported the playground equipment would be arriving late this week, with an anticipated construction start date on July 16.

The playground equipment needs to be constructed before cement can be added to stabilize the structures. After that, rubber mulch, recycled from old tires, will be placed around the structure to help avoid injuries to children playing.

“We’ll start building Monday and Tuesday, pour the cement on Wednesday, and then do the mulching Thursday,” Wilk said. “We should start at 8:30 a.m. Monday morning, depending on the weather, and work until we’re just too tired.”

She believed by the following week, the playground would be ready for kids to come and use.

Wilk attempted to go with local, or at the least, state vendors for the playground equipment. She said she had initially intended to purchase the rubber mulch from a company in Chicago, but found a company in Michigan that had better quality mulch. It also cost about $5,000 more than expected for the amount the playground needed, she said.

The board had donated a $5,000 grant received by the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe on June 12.

She also purchased fabric to line the mulch pit, benches for parents to sit on, picnic tables, and trees. Combined with expenses for construction and installation, she said the committee was about $4,500 short.

The board approved donating an additional $5,000 from the general fund to cover the expenses. Wilk said she wanted to build the entire project with tax-free funds, so the board motion included a caveat that the funds be repaid to the general fund with any future 2-percent grant money from the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe.

Wilk said she planned on seeing if local high school seniors looking to fill their 40 hours of community service would be interested in helping with construction.

On Aug. 11, Wilk said an official ribbon-cutting ceremony is being planned to coincide with the “Guns ‘N Hoses” softball tournament between the Arenac County Sheriff’s Department and the Sterling Area Fire Department.

She was also interested in having an official Parks Committee for the township, but the board did not take up the issue at the meeting.

In related township news, Deep River Township Supervisor Robert Budz said he wanted to see new lights by the old township hall and on the opposite side of the current hall, which stands adjacent to the old one. He said it is important for safety reasons to have more lighting near the park, located on E. State Street.

The new playground is planned to be compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and to exceed government safety requirements. Rubber mulch was used in favor of wood chips, sand, or pea stone due to less intensive upkeep and to meet ADA guidelines.

The original swing set at the park is being removed since, due to its height, it would require more space than the committee has to work with for safety reasons. The slide and bouncing toys will remain once construction has been completed on the new playset, however.

During the June 12 board meeting Wilk said the township would have a “state-of-the-art playground.”

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