Playground equipment plans progress

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

New projects proposed by the Purdy Renewal Project were discussed at the December meeting of the Purdy City Council.

Gerry and Neal Wass and Philip and Kathleen VanVoorst described progress on plans to place new playground equipment in the city's main park by the schools.

Three years ago, the Purdy High School Spanish Club targeted the city park for improvements as a target for spending funds raised through the recycling project. The club helped to replace the barbecue grills in the park. The Purdy Renewal Project subsequently picked up the undertaking.

A $13,000 grant sought by the Purdy Renewal Project did not come through, Neal Wass reported. With $5,000 raised, the group approached Miracle Recreation Equipment, a division of PlayPower in Monett, about what could be purchased. The "Todddler's Choice" equipment is within reach and can be purchased with a $2,000 discount if ordered now.

Council members reviewed the marketing material and approved the idea. The set of equipment will be placed in the vicinity of the teeter totters.

Gerry Wass said the equipment chosen will require no concrete. Volunteers have offered to help with installation.

A new standard for playground equipment involves surrounding the apparatus with a mulch to cushion falls. The equipment will be placed in a 36-foot cicle dug down from nine to 12 inches and filled with a filler.

Rubber mulch from old tires appears too expensive. A local business has offered to donate wood mulch. Philip VanVoorst said a system of PVC pipes will keep the mulch generally in place, as it has at Roaring River State Park.

Upgrading the park has increased useage. Neal Wass asked council members to improve the trash collection capacity at the park. Mayor Ron Dutra said that a dumpster left at the park in the past became an open invitation for others to dump trash at the city's expense.

Aldermen agreed to use some bigger polycarts in the park for trash. Gerry Wass, who acts as faculty sponsor for the Spanish Club, said the students would like to establish a regular recycling container in the park.

Beyond the city park, the Purdy Renewal Project representatives talked about a new project. As a not-for-profit organization under the umbrella of the Community Foundation of the Ozarks, the Purdy Renewal Project can engage in active fundraising to develop more recreation opportunities.

Gerry Wass proposed developing the city property around the retired city lagoon on the east edge of town into a walking trail. Other than needing work to rechannel storm water run-off, the land would not need much improvement to meet the group's goal.

Alderman Steve Roden said the city retained liability for the property. He felt the land would serve a better use as a recreation site. Concerns that may have come from the Missouri Department of Natural Resources over using an old lagoon had already been addressed, he said.

Aldermen authorized the group's proposal, clearing the way for work to begin.

Roden encouraged group members to study the land during a wet period and bring back a proposal on what was needed to make the property more useful.

The Purdy Renewal Project, at the urging of Purdy School Superintendent Dr. Steven Chancellor, agreed to develop a 10-year vision for the community. Gerry Wass asked city council members to join their effort, or at least serve on committees to help.

"We don't want it to become a plan either," Wass said, "so people say later, 'Well, that's not in the plan.' We prefer it as a vision."

Wass and Rick Thompson agreed to be in charge of the effort. Businessman and school board member Ed Mareth agreed to serve on an economic development committee. A committee is also forming on housing.

Aldermen liked the idea and agreed to help. They wanted the Purdy Renewal Project to take the lead. Mayor Ron Dutra said council members would welcome minutes of meetings and the opportunity to provide input.

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