Parks and Trails Bond Playgrounds Open House Slated for June 10

By BECKY GOODRICH

Missoula Parks and Recreation invites the public to attend an Open House to learn more about 11 new or improved City playgrounds which are part of the 2014 Parks and Trails Bond project.

The Open House will be held at the Parks and Recreation Wellness Center at City Life, 1515 Fairview, on Wednesday, June 10, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.  Children and their families are encouraged to attend.

Residents will have an opportunity to learn about the proposed playground installations and comment on playground equipment, color schemes, play values, playground siting and more. If you are unable to attend the Open House, playground plans and a comment form will be available online at www.missoulaparks.org.  CTA Architects Engineers of Missoula have been selected as the design consultants for this project.

The $1 million project includes playground improvements for 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 project 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.

2015-06-03_1701According 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 playground 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.