Parks and Recreation Seeks Public Comment on Proposed Playground Improvements

Missoula Parks and Recreation invites citizens to learn more about and comment on proposed improvements at 10 city playgrounds. The project, dubbed “Operation Playground Build” by Parks and Recreation, is part of the $42 million Parks and Trails Bond approved by voters last year. The bond also funds development of Fort Missoula Park (which includes 4 new playgrounds), and creation of a new trails program for Missoula County.

Citizens can visit www.missoulaparks.org to see the proposed playground equipment for each park, prioritize their favorite pieces and provide comment. Public comment on the proposed designs will be accepted through June 28. CTA Architects Engineers of Missoula have been selected as the design consultants for this project.

The $1 million Operation Playground Build includes playground improvements at Bonner, Franklin, Greenough, McLeod, Northside, Pleasant View, Rainbow, Skyview, Wapikia, and Whitaker parks, plus phase two development of Silver Summit playground in McCormick Park.  Parks and Recreation is seeking to enhance the Operation Playground Build budget with matching grants, cooperative partnerships, impact fees and private donations. Private donations will be used to add play features and increase the play value of each playground.

DocumentAccording to Parks and Recreation director Donna Gaukler, the sites for the improved playgrounds were selected to ensure geographic disbursement throughout the city. “A priority goal for our community is to have a playground within 10 to 12 minutes walking distance from every child. Playgrounds provide one of the best opportunities for children to interact in creative self-directed, outdoor, active play—which is essential for healthy child development.” Playground sites were also based on existing playground equipment, ADA access and neighborhooddemographics.

Each playground design includes unique play features. “The goal is to have each playground different from the others and to select play equipment that meet the needs of the children living in each neighborhood.  It’s been fun to see how the designers have integrated each park’s unique character into the design,” Gaukler said.

All of the playgrounds will be ADA-accessible and will include play features for all abilities. Additionally, at least one of the playgrounds at the new Fort Missoula Regional Park will include “wheelchair-friendly” surfacing, similar to Silver Summit Playground in McCormick Park.

The proposed Operation Playground Build designs and a complete FAQ about the project can be found at www.missoulaparks.org or missoulaparksandtrails.org. To make a donation to enhance the project, phone 721-PARK.