Children will have a new playground to check out next year at Waupaca’s South Park.
The Common Council, at is Dec. 3 meeting, awarded the bid for the project to Northland Recreation, of Woodbury, Minn., at a cost not to exceed $72,500.
The motion was approved by a vote of 9-1, with Ald. Jillian Petersen voting no.
Prior to the vote, she said, “I think I’d like to see something smaller scale, similar to what was there.”
Petersen said Waupaca is a small community which already has many other playgrounds.
Parks and Recreation Director Aaron Jenson said $80,000 was allotted for the new playground when the overall project was approved.
At least 50 percent of the new playground will be ADA accessbile, he said.
The sidewalks and paths will be ADA accessible.
“We don’t have another playground like this in the facility,” Jenson said. “It is called a universal playground.”
The bid approved by the council compared to the initial bid of $79,915 from Northland Recreation.
Jenson worked with Northland Recreation to make cuts in the proposal to allow for the $7,500 needed for the playground’s poured concrete border and cement for the bases of the playground support poles to fit within the $80,000 budget for the new playground.
The city received a total of eight bids for the new playground equipment.
The highest bid was $97,092 from Miller and Associates, of Sauk Prairie. The lowest bid was $71,718 from Lee Recreation, of Cambridge.
Northland Recreation’s initial bid of $79,915 was the fourth highest bid.
All of the bids included the price of the equipment, supervised installation and engineered wood fiber surfacing.
The poured concrete border and cement for the bases of playground support poles is an additional cost, separate from the bids.
In a memo to Mayor Brian Smith and the Common Council, Jenson explained why staff recommended the bid of Northland Recreation be approved.
“We feel Northland Recreation designed a playground that best fit our park and our users. It is our staff’s opinion that Northland Recreation’s proposal will give us the most equipment for our money without diminishing quality,” he wrote.
The structure’s design includes a play system for 2 to 5-year-old children, a larger play system for children who are 5 to 12 and additional individual pieces, including a total of six swings.
“The 5-12-year-old structure was designed to be handicap accessible and will be a great addition to our park system. The engineered wood fiber surface also meets ADA standards to allow for ease of movement throughout the play area,” Jenson wrote in his memo.
Northland Recreation has worked on projects throughout the state, including in Ashwaubenon, Reedsburg and Suamico.
The company also did the KASH Park project in Stevens Point, which in 2009 won Playground of the Year for Wisconsin, Jenson said.
Jenson told the council the small cuts made to reduce the bid will not decrease the functionality of the playground.
“It still seems large when you have to use taxpayer dollars to fund it,” Petersen said.
The new playground is part of the Phase I improvements for the park.
The budget for the total project is projected to be $695,000.
The funding includes:
• $339,150 from a Wisconsin Stewardship Grant.
• $230,000 in private donations.
• $12,000 from the park’s operating account.
• $25,000 from the city park fee account.
• $12,000 from the development department’s operating account.
• $15,000 from the Friends of the Parks.
• $16,000 from the city’s water utility account.
• $16,000 from the city’s storm sewer account.
• $15,000 from the city’s street sidewalk account.
• $15,000 from the Rick Johnson Donation Account.
The money from the park’s operating account and development department’s operating account are 2013 taxpayer dollars. The funds from the storm sewer account and sidewalk account involve 2014 taxpayer dollars.
City crews will supervise the installation of the playground.
Mayor Brian Smith the city figures it will involve about a week of time for four to five employees.
“They will do this when they have time. My guess is that would be our in-kind toward the project,” he said.
While the playground may be ready to go as early as next spring, Jenson recommends it not be installed until after the paving is done.
“It would be nice to have a grand opening when it’s all done,” he said of the first phase of improvements.