Disassembly and removal of the wooden playground at Tom Varn Park began on Monday, August 2. Many community members shared photos online of the much loved playground as it was taken down.
The wooden structures were constructed in 1990 for around $50,000 and have no doubt entertained countless children and created many memories in its 30 years of use. Approximately 1,700 community volunteers helped to construct the 10,000 square foot playground over the course of approximately 5 days in 1990. The project was sponsored through the generous support of the Junior Service League. A monument at the playground recognizes the community effort to bring the playground to fruition three decades ago.
The city explains that due to the natural aging progression of wooden play structures, many of the features were unrepairable/unreplaceable and did not meet current Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) Standards.
A new American Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant playground will be installed by GameTime and is anticipated to begin mid-August, based on shipping/arrival of the equipment. The installation should take ten days if the weather cooperates but is also dependent on the availability of mulch.
The project is funded in part by a competitive grant from the Florida Recreation Development Assistance Program (FRDAP). The grant award is in the amount of $150,000 which is administered through the Florida Department of Environmental Protection with a 75/25 reimbursement split.
“We are committed to doing everything we can to foster a positive park experience for our residents and improving the safety of the playground was paramount,” stated Whisnant. The City will also be adding additional amenities to the site, those include a new ADA water fountain as well as benches. According to Whisnant, a ribbon-cutting ceremony is being planned and will be open to the public.