Board of Directors Regular Meeting Agenda

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Meeting Date: 01/15/2020  

Receive, consider and act upon the approval to release a Request for Qualifications for the redevelopment of an inclusive playground at Bear Branch Park (C-2019-0667);
$600,000 has been allocated in the 2020 The Woodlands Township Budget for this project.  Discussions with various philanthropic entities may enhance the overall funding for the project, but would not obligate the Township beyond the budgeted amount. The Board of Directors will be presented any potential funding donations or sponsorship agreements for consideration. 
In 2002, The Woodlands Community Association and several partners came together to build the first, and only, inclusive playground in the community. The purpose of the playground is to provide a safe place where children of all abilities can play together and which has equipment that is developmentally appropriate for children with and without disabilities. The goal of this playground is to take away the barriers to inclusion, both physical and social, providing a “sensory rich” experience for all. While all Township playgrounds meet accessibility standards at the time of installation, an inclusive playground goes beyond those standards to ensure access and ability to use the entire playground. 
The Woodlands Township replaces playgrounds routinely after they have reached 12 to 15 years in age to ensure the equipment continues to be safe, in good working order, is compliant with current codes and regulations, is aesthetically pleasing and has play value with current play.  This systematic replacement program provides residents' satisfaction and a high use of the park system. The Bear Branch Park Playground is 18 years old and there is very high use of this playground which is evident through the wear and tear on this equipment.
The cost of the new playground is higher ($600,000) than most playgrounds due in part to it being an inclusive playground, which requires special features including a poured in place fall surface (rubber) instead of a natural fall surface material (bark chips). Secondly, the Bear Branch Park is designated a Townwide Park, thus the size and scope of a playground is much larger than the typical neighborhood or village park playground.  This playground would be of similar size and play characteristics of Northshore Park, and the three playgrounds in the Rob Fleming Park, Aquatic Center and Recreation Center complex.
A Request for Qualifications (RFQ) has been developed (Attachment A) to design and install a developmentally appropriate inclusive playground (ages 2-5 and ages 5-12) for children with and without disabilities that will:
  • Incorporate high play value (physical, cognitive, and social development)
  • Be used by all in the least restrictive environment 
  • Attract users to visit the facility multiple times
  • Be complementary to the environment and the overall park surroundings.
  • Meet and/or exceed all applicable standards: ADA, CPSC, ASTM, ISO, etc.
  • Is designed and installed on schedule and within the allocated budget
A RFQ is recommended for this project to identify a high-quality firm that routinely designs this type of playgrounds and has significant experience in this area. Due to the nature of the playground and the prominence of the project (location, expense, and accessibility) the RFQ process will allow the Township to identify a vendor who has experience and expertise to create an innovative and destination inclusive playground for the community. The process requires the selected firm to present to the Board of Directors design concepts and costs with input from staff and the community for final approval.
The following timeline for the project has been developed:
  • January 2020 - Board of Directors approves release of RFQ
  • January – February 2020 - Solicitation of RFQs
  • March 2020 - Board of Directors reviews RFQs and selects firm
  • April – May 2020 - Plan/design development
  • June 2020 - Board of Directors receives concept plan and cost
  • July-September 2020 - Manufacture and installation of playground equipment
  • November 15, 2020 - Substantial Completion
  • December 1, 2020 - Project completion
Approve the release of the Request for Qualifications (RFQ) for the redevelopment of an inclusive playground at Bear Branch Park.
Attachment A - RFQ Bear Branch Park Inclusive Playground


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