The oldest piece of playground equipment in Spring Lake Park is set to be replaced this spring.
When the snow disappears, kids will be able to spin around on a brand new space whirl, or merry-go-round, at Terrace Park.
The previous whirl was deemed a “safety hazard” when the parks and recreation and public works departments performed their monthly playground safety inspection in November, according to Parks and Recreation Director Marian Rygwall.
The break system, which stops the whirl from spinning too fast, was not working. The shaft and bearings were in rough shape, too, Public Works Director Terry Randall said.
So, the whirl was removed, and the hunt to fix or replace the equipment began.
A new whirl will cost $5,867.25; parts to repair the old whirl would come in at $3,070.35, according to Rygwall, who obtained quotes from Minnesota/Wisconsin Playground.
Because the whirl is old – all other equipment in Terrace Park was replaced in 2000 – there is concern that replacement parts may not be available for much longer, so Rygwall asked the Spring Lake Park City Council to approve the purchase of a new whirl at its meeting Dec. 2.
Funding for the new space whirl would come from the park improvement fund, an account financed through donations and park usage fees, not taxpayer dollars.
Councilman Larry Raymond wondered if the city should shop around for a lower price, but Rygwall said that Minnesota/Wisconsin Playground represents the lowest possible price under state contract.
“Believe me, I don’t want to hold off the kids in the spring,” Raymond said. “I know how much that thing is used. My grandkids are all over that thing in the spring.”
Another option Rygwall considered was purchasing a new type of playground equipment, the latest and greatest, she said.
But, the supplier told her that “studies show that the motion of doing the whirl increases cognitive development in children,” she told the council. “We better keep that whirl going.”
The council unanimously approved the purchase of a new space whirl.
Olivia Koester is at