Park project

THE EQUIPMENT AT THE MAIN PLAYGROUND in Central Park is decades old, but plans are in place to remove and replace it. Photo / Per Peterson

City moving ahead with plan to upgrade playground equipment at Central Park

By Per Peterson

With much of the attention in recent months focused on Tracy’s senior population, the city council recently added a different generation to its to-do list, as steps are being taking to replace an antiquated playground system in one of the City’s most expansive public outdoor areas: Central Park.

Two playground outfitters made presentations to the Tracy City Council at the Feb. 22 meeting. The council ultimately agreed to partner with Minnesota/Wisconsin Playground, which it was determined offers a more multi-generational more compact and more cost effective play area than the other company that presented, Flagship.

“The playground equipment at Central Park is many years old, doesn’t meet disability standards, it’s in need of constant repair, it’s not safe by industry standards,” Tracy City Administrator Erik Hansen said at the Feb. 22 council meeting. “We’ve budgeted some money ($60,000) for this in this year’s budget, and we anticipate that we’re going to go for a grant from the Department of Natural Resources.”

The total project costs are estimated between $52,895 and $93,037 with 50% of the funds coming from a DNR match. Funds are expected to come from the approved 2021 tax levy and available unrestricted fund balance in the capital projects fund. Up to $88,693 is potentially available for a match to the DNR grant — $30,000 from the 2021 tax levy and $58,693 from unrestricted funds in the capital project budget. There is also money available from a private donation.

“This is money that’s available after all of our capital projects in the budget for 2021 and after the $144,000 that was already set aside for the community center,” said Hansen. “This is money over and above those things.”

Both MN/WI and Flagship offered two options to the City. MN/WI’s included a playground for ages 5-12 (about $59,999) and a more expensive one for ages 2-5 and 5-12 ($74,208). Both are included in a single play area. The council voted to go with MN/WI’s option that includes two areas in one with an estimated price tag of $74,208 (plus a concrete border), and also approved a City match for the DNR grant.

See this week’s Headlight Herald for more on this article.