Andover advancing 2012 park improvement ideas

Two more park projects are moving forward in Andover for 2012.

Pleasant Oaks Park will get new playground equipment focused on the two- to 12-year-olds, a new swing set and a frisbee disc golf basket. Woodland Meadows Park’s playground will be upgraded to meet national safety and handicapped accessibility standards.

Although Andover has always accepted neighborhood feedback regarding potential park improvements, the city took extra steps to gather comments before determining what improvements should be made. The city asked neighbors of these parks to complete an online survey and attend a neighborhood meeting.

Feedback was limited, Councilmember Julie Trude said at the March 6 Andover City Council meeting.

Only two residents showed up to a neighborhood meeting for Pleasant Oaks Park, although seven did respond to a neighborhood survey. Nobody responded to the online survey or showed up to the neighborhood meeting for the Woodland Meadows Park discussion.

“I was just hoping to get a lot more interest and feedback and it really makes you wonder if anybody is really going to use that park,but those two families, and at that point would it be cheaper to have them each put a new swing set in their own back yards, but that’s not how we do things,” Trude said regarding Pleasant Oaks Park.

At this point, the city is estimating the new equipment at Pleasant Oaks Park will cost about $25,000, according to Assistant City Engineer Todd Haas.

Woodland Meadows Park’s equipment upgrade to make it compliant with national safety and handicapped accessibility standards is slated to cost $10,000, Haas said.

According to Haas, the improvements include replacing the sand base around the playground equipment with wood chips. The base around the playground will also be getting smaller and a concrete edge will keep the wood chips in place. A trail will be constructed from the street to the playground.

Sunshine Park upgrades

The council plans to make some upgrades in Sunshine Park this year as well.

At its past two meetings, the council has approved plans and specifications for completing the paving of the west parking lot and adding lights in the north parking lot of Sunshine Park.

The west parking lot is the closest to the skateboard park and Andover High School. The north parking lot is near Andover Elementary.

Andover Park and Recreation Commission Chairperson Ted Butler said during a joint meeting with the council last fall that having a half-paved lot does not reflect well on the city and others agreed that this focal park of Andover should have a fully paved lot. City staff are currently seeking bids for this project.

The north parking lot is completely paved, but city officials have raised concerns about safety because this lot has no lights. The city got a quote from Connexus Energy to install nine 130-watt LED light poles. Three of the poles will have two lights.

The purchase price is $36,480 and there would be a monthly charge of $2.25 per light to pay for ongoing maintenance costs, including the cost of replacing a light if one should be knocked down.

Eric Hagen is at eric.hagen@ecm-inc.com

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