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Building a playground: Kiwanis Legacy of Play contest now active

By: Jeremy D. Wells
Carter County Times

 The Carter County Kiwanis club wants to help the Grayson Sports Park get a new, state of the art, inclusive playground that all kids can enjoy, regardless of their mobility, but they need your help to get it. Kiwanis club president Willis Johnson spoke to the tourism board during their regular meeting last week to let them know that the website for voting on the award – $25,000 for the winning project – would be active this week. 

There are some stipulations. The organization receiving the award has to spend at least $50,000 to qualify for the $25,000. The award also goes to the project that receives the most votes, so community involvement is key to the success of the funding. 

Johnson explained that the contest, which runs for two weeks, allows you to vote once per day, so folks are encouraged to visit the site and vote daily. In addition, the voting is tied to email addresses, not individual registrations, so if you have multiple email addresses you can vote once for each email address each day. 

Sports park manager Grant Harper told the tourism board that the equipment he has been looking at includes features like zip lines, instead of the standard swing sets and sliding boards. The playground equipment is also designed to allow children in wheelchairs, or with other mobility or developmental issues, to play alongside other children on the playground, so no one needs to be left out. Community members can vote for the project by visiting the website at https://play.kiwanis.org/contestants/kiwanis-of-carter-county/

Harper said the plans the board had received from Brandstetter were a spec plan that would have made the park move-in ready once completed. But, if those plans were followed as written it would end up costing the park “$3 million to $4 million more.” By going off spec, and exploring other options, he said he expected to get the park even better features at a lower cost. 

“By traveling to different places and taking to different reps… I feel very good about the products we will get,” he added. 

Harper also updated the board on the progress of the planned splash pad water feature. He said some of the water features he had looked into are basically underground pools that recirculate water. Those options not only require more work, they also require the park to employ a certified pool technician to maintain and treat the recirculating water. He said another option, which doesn’t use any more water and sends used water to the sanitary sewer system, bypassing the need for chemicals and a pool technician, might be more feasible. The options he had looked at included automatic shut-off of water when no one was playing on the splash pad, as well as flow control features to limit water waste. 

“I wanted it to be something better (than spec),” Harper said of the splash pad. 

Harper also addressed questions about concrete that was being torn up and removed from the nearly complete park. He explained that the park was having one of the contractors re-pour some “sub-par concrete,” that “wasn’t up to standards” for the vision of the park. After talking with the contractor about the quality of the job they agreed to tear up the old concrete and re-pour new concrete that would meet the high standards Harper has set for the park. 

In other action the tourism board discussed liens against local hotels for unpaid taxes, approved financial statements, and authorized the transfer of $10,000 into a new operations and maintenance account. That account will be used to provide funding for maintenance equipment and needs, and eventually will be used to pay salaries for park maintenance employees. 

Contact the writer at editor@cartercountytimes.com

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