New playground equipment is coming to Juniper Hill Park after Parks, Recreation and Historic Sites Director Shawn Pickens described some of the equipment as “an extreme safety hazard” at the last Frankfort City Commission meeting month.
Pickens said via email Thursday that the process to replace the equipment will begin in the next two to three weeks. He says the current equipment is at least 25 years old.
At an Oct. 21 special meeting of the city commission, Pickens asked for the commission's approval to replace the play structure for 5- to 12-year-olds, four bay belt swings and the 10 spin, or merry-go-around. New safety fall protection mats, surfacing containment timbers and certified playground mulch were also requested.
According to the agenda for the Oct. 21 meeting, the equipment is expected to cost $75,000 and will be purchased through Miracle Recreation of Kentucky/Tennessee. The agenda also says the funds for this project are approved in the city’s 2020 budget and will be paid out of the Capital Project Fund.
Pickens cited safety concerns as the reason for the replacement.
“The playground at Juniper Hill is in very rough shape, probably the worst one we have in the city,” Pickens told commissioners on Oct. 21. “It’s also the most heavily used. If you look at it up close, you can tell it’s a safety hazard. We’ve got several areas of it that’s boarded up with plywood. Some of the metal is starting to rust and break off.”
Pickens also said more changes and updates to the playground equipment will be coming to the park at a later date and this is the first phase.
The agenda for the meeting says the play equipment for 2- to 5-year-olds is in decent shape and is not in need of immediate replacement.
Commissioner Katrisha Waldridge asked Pickens whether parks and recreation still had plans to install equipment that children with disabilities can use, and he said yes.
According to the Frankfort Parks, Recreation and Historic Sites website, Juniper Hill Park opened in 1954 and is the oldest park in Frankfort. It encompasses 124 acres and includes a golf course, aquatic center, tennis courts, volleyball courts, a playground, picnic area, gazebo, several military memorials and more.
The park, located at 800 Louisville Road, is open from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. from March through November and 7 a.m. to dusk from December through February.