Burlington’s recreation department has received an offer from a national playground developer that promises to give it the financial boost it will need to establish the city’s first handicapped-accessible play area.
During a regularly-scheduled work session on Monday, Burlington’s recreation director Tony Laws announced that the nonprofit KABOOM! recently contacted him about a potential stipend from an anonymous “funding partner” with a particular interest in Burlington’s playgrounds.
Laws added that the proffered subsidy would cover about two thirds of the $500,000 that his department would need to set up an “all inclusive” playground with wheelchair platforms and other equipment to accommodate children with both physical and developmental disabilities.
Laws went on to propose that the city could use this proposed donation to redevelop the existing playground facilities at Burlington’s City Park, which he insisted have all but reached the end of their lifespan after 25 years in regular use.
“The lifespan of an average playground is 15 to 20 years,” Laws went on to inform the council. “So, we are getting more than our money’s worth out of this playground.”
Laws conceded that the city would still need to invest $155,000 of its own funds to complete the transformation of City Park’s playground into a proper, handicapped-accessible facility. He added that, with the consent of the city’s leaders, KABOOM! could embark on this project in time to have new equipment ready for action by the end of August.
“This is a much-needed playground in two different aspects,” the city’s recreation director importuned the council during the work session. “Number one, we have to replace the playground at City Park sooner or later…and, two, we also have to provide a playground that all kids in the city can take part in regardless of what their abilities or disabilities are.”
At Laws’ behest, the council agreed to take his proposal up at its next regular meeting on Tuesday, where it ultimately passed by a margin of 5-to-0.