11/22/2019- A recent analysis of playground equipment in Marinette’s public parks showed much of it is in need of repair or replacement and next comes the question of how to pay for that. Tuesday the City’s Finance Committee discussed setting up to $75000 aside from Marinette’s fund 401 for future park maintenance. Committee Member John Marx says while that may not cover all the parks’ expenses, they need to start somewhere before small maintenance needs turn into big ones.
“We need to put money away for the playgrounds otherwise it’s going to keep deteriorating and then it’s going to cost us a very large amount and we’ll have problems coming up with teh money. So, I agree with putting some money away- whether it’s $75000 or some other number, I don’t know what that number would be. But, I do agree with the concept.”
The playground at Higley Field was identified as being the top priority, but Executive Director of Recreation and Events Gavin Scray reports it’s estimated it will cost around $150000 to replace that equipment, as well as install a new poured-in-place rubber surface instead of using wood mulch. Committee member Wally Hitt is hesitant about that additional cost and questioned whether it was worth the $40000 to $50000 price tag.
“I like the rubberized because it’s nice, but when you figure the cost of putting down the chips, I was hoping the rubberized would last more years. It lasts several years, but when you figure it out, you’re paying more for the rubberized and, yeah, you’re saving the labor of spreading the chips, but I think I’d rather see the money put into equipment. The chips do the job.”
It was acknowledged that updating all the equipment is likely to be a multi-year process. The Committee ultimately voted to earmark $75000 from fund 401 to be allocated to park capital projects in the next budget.