|The Township Board received a request from the Bonny Branch Homeowners Association through the Sterling Ridge Village Association to install a playground at Bonny Branch Park (Attachment A). Bonny Branch is one of several “traditional neighborhood developments” that were initially conceived to be either age restricted (55+) communities or designed to attract empty nesters. However, upon completion of these neighborhoods (Cottage Green, Pipers Green and Bonny Branch), the style of home and the housing market attracted all types of home buyers, including families with children.
Upon receiving the request, staff began to review level of service data. On average, neighborhood parks serve a radius of .5 miles and have standard amenities, such as a pavilion, playground, water fountain, bike rack, and small grass area. The closest playground is outside of the .5-mile service radius (Attachment B). The Board approved funding for this project in the 2021 Capital Improvement Budget through the Budget Initiative Process.
Prior to the Township’s normal playground renovation process, which includes a resident survey, staff received comments from several residents who do not want a playground added to their neighborhood. Their concerns included: drawing people from outside of their neighborhood to the playground, noise, congestion and devaluation of their homes. Additionally, this group indicated that the Bonny Branch HOA did not ask the neighborhood if there was a need/desire for a playground prior to submitting the request to the Township Board.
After hearing the concerns, staff requested the Bonny Branch HOA Board survey the community in regards to the playground. Details of the communication from the Bonny Branch HOA regarding their survey process is attached (Attachment C). The HOA reported that surveys were sent to all 73 homes in the neighborhood. Of the 36 responses (49.3%) received, 25 (69%) were supportive of a playground and 11 (30%) were not. Of the 11 non-supportive responses, 6 responses came from those living across the street from the park. One respondent, who lives across from the park, was supportive. (Attachment D)
Following receipt of the survey information from the HOA, Parks and Recreation staff conducted a survey of the neighborhood to gauge what should be included in a playground. (Attachment E) Thirty-six responses were received. Highlights of the survey include, but are not limited to:
A neighborhood park typically has a playground for 2 to 5 year olds and 5 to 12 year olds, in addition to a swing set. An overview of a playground at Cottage Green, another traditional development community, is attached. (Attachment F) Several playground types and manufacturers have been reviewed to identify one consistent with the concerns of the residents, feel of the site, environment, intended use, scale, and user types. The goal of this playground is to serve the community, while minimizing the impact on adjacent residents (views, noise, congestion).
- 61% of the respondents have visited the park over 20 times in the past year.
- 50% of the respondents have children in the household; 50% do not.
- Of those households reporting children, there was a total of 39 children identified.
- The highest rated features desired by residents to be included in the playground were: Nature elements (57.58%), Climbers (51.52%); Slides (45.45%), and Swings (42.42%).
It is recommended that this playground be developed with the Kompan-Robinia, using the Buy Board purchasing cooperative contract (Buy Board 512-19). The Kompan-Robinia line incorporates natural wooden poles and net systems, which offer challenging, adventurous climbing and strengthens agility, and balance and coordination. Buy Board’s purchasing program ensures that the costs for these products have already been properly bid, assisting local governments in product procurement. This program has been used to purchase the Kompan-Robinia line before for play equipment for the Gosling Sportsfields and Rob Fleming Recreation Center.
There are two options (Attachment G) and costs (Attachment G1) for Kompan-Robinia playgrounds that could be installed that this park:
Option 2 is recommended, as it provides equipment and play elements for a broader age range of children (2 - 12 years old), while reducing the footprint of the playground. This option is consistent with other neighborhood park playgrounds in the community and the survey respondents indicated there are more households with older children versus younger children. The remaining funding allocated for the project will be used for reforestation and other elements to enhance the forest buffer to screen select views of the play equipment and to reduce noise.
- Option 1 is geared towards 2 to 5 year olds; has smaller main play features and individual components and limited play value for 5 to 12 year olds: $113,272.86
- Option 2 is geared towards 2 to 5 and 5 to 12 year olds and is more in line with resident requests for equipment variety and play value (challenge and element type) with fewer structures (3) and less visual clutter: $119,349.49
|Approve Option 2 for the purchase and installation of playground equipment from Kompan, Inc., through Buy Board Contract #512-16 in the amount of $119,349.49, and authorize the President/General Manager, or his designee, to execute all necessary agreements for the project, as approved to final form by the Township Attorney.