Kids Planet overhaul planned for the fall
Renovations at Kids Planet will begin in September, according to Greer city officials.
Following more than a year of planning, the City of Greer contracted Cunningham Recreation to complete an overhaul of the popular playground.
Beginning Tuesday, Sept. 3, Parks and Recreation Department staff will begin removing existing equipment from the site.
“Our plan right now is to close the playground the Tuesday after Labor Day,” said Red Watson, Assistant Director of Parks and Recreation. “Our staff will come in and remove all the personal effects.”
These items will be stored at the Operations Center until the playgrounds are completed in the spring of 2020.
“After the opening, the Cultural Arts Division will begin the planning process of creating an area within Kids Planet to display the items removed from the original Kids Planet,” Watson said.
Conceptual plans for the renovation depict a new enchanted forest theme, which includes: three 50-foot zip lines, a 100-foot zip line, a misting station with three outlets and a music station with eight or nine different instruments.
“We wanted to make this a destination playground,” Watson said. “Just like the original Kids Planet, we wanted to have something that everybody from the upstate or from surrounding areas wants to come to Greer and enjoy.”
A couple of hillside slides are planned for the natural slope from the current playgrounds down to the new parking lot to be paved near the lower entrance to the ball fields.
Outdoor fitness stations, including a pull up station requested by Council Member Lee Dumas, will be located along a walking trail surrounding the park.
The area for ages 2-5 showed insects, animals, mushroom steppers and similar elements.
“These are play elements that would actually be incorporated into the design,” Watson said. “Keeping with the nature theme, you’ll see climbing logs.”
A dragon fly with interactive wings is also pictured as well as a large butterfly or similar shade structure.
Plans depicted an orchard or grove of trees for the ages 5-12 area.
“They’re basically just a climbing apparatus for the kids that they can kind of go from one to the other,” Watson said.
A climbing net is also depicted, connecting towers which are about 25 feet high.
“Going back to transparency, you can see through it,” Watson said of the climbing net.
Kids can crawl, walk or climb through the net, and a modern day tire swing is pictured as well.
“It’s kin to the tire swings we grew up with,” Watson said.
Another area, called the “bob,” will have a series of trampolines, which will double as drains.
One of the major changes will be no mulch on the playground.
“All the surfacing included in this proposal is pour in place rubber surfacing,” Watson said.
A conceptual design presented last Tuesday has been approved in full by Greer City Council, despite being over the original budgeted amount.
The original budget for the Kids Planet renovation totaled $1.3 million with $1 million coming from funds acquired through the sale of the former Allen Bennett Hospital and $300,000 from a private donation.
Additional funds of $237,330 were added by the City of Greer from Parks and Recreation Department from money carried forward, bringing the total revenue to $1,537,330.
Expenditures include $50,000 for Bluewater Civil Engineering’s site design, $1,092,826.35 for Cunningham Recreation’s playground equipment and $795,840 for grading and site work.
Expenditures total $1,938,666.35, which was $401,336.35 over budget, but funds from the Greenville County Redevelopment Authority CDBG funds of $223,080 for site work addressing accessibility brought the deficit down to $178,256.35.
As a result, the 100 foot zip line and two hillside slides were going to be cut to stay within budget, but Greer City Council approved the full request with plans to find additional funding from other parts of the budget.
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