As new playground equipment was being installed at Spooner Creek Park Thursday afternoon, Andy Dorian, director of the Hannibal Parks and Recreation Department, promised that even more gear was on order for the small, neighborhood park.
“We have toddler and children’s swings coming,” said Dorian, who anticipates the swings will be installed either this fall or early next spring.
The purchase of new equipment for the South Side park was approved by the City Council last month. The previous equipment, which was removed in August, had been installed in the late 1980s and was the oldest still in service. The city’s insurance carrier, MIRMA, had recommended the old items be removed.
“To the regular eye it still looked like a fine piece of playground equipment, but when you got close to it several parts in the steps were rusted out,” said Mary Lynne Richards, assistant supervisor for promotion and planning for the Parks Department. “It was just unsafe for this neighborhood, so we didn’t want to leave it in any more.”
When the old equipment was removed, no consideration was given to leaving the park an open space, according to Richards.
“We did not want this community to be without a playground,” she said. “This neighborhood really uses the Spooner Creek Park. We’ve received several inquiries about when it’s going to be installed, so everybody is real excited about it.”
Plans are in the works to officially dedicate the park’s new items.
“We are going to have a big, grand-opening celebration for the whole neighborhood,” said Richards, indicating that Stowell Elementary School will be involved in some way when the program takes place.
The new equipment was purchased from All Inclusive Rec for a cost of $20,593. Because $25,000 had been budgeted the leftover funds will serve as “seed” money for future purchases.
“After we do this we’re looking at more playground equipment in Ann Dorsey Hodgdon (Ninth & Rock Street) and Willow Creek Park (404 Willow St.), and then at Kiwanis Park (150 Broadway),” said Richards. “Over the next four or five years we are looking to renovate several playgrounds in the city.”
“I’m excited. Hopefully this is the first of many,” added Dorian, reporting that Willow Creek Park will receive a new swing set and slide next summer.
As for the items that were removed from Spooner Creek Park, the metal has already been scrapped.
“We’re still looking for a place that will recycle the plastic,” said Dorian.