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Heidelberg council gives nod to begin design work for playground

| Thursday, Jan. 30, 2014, 3:57 p.m.

Heidelberg residents should see a refurbished Ellsworth Avenue Playground by fall, borough leaders said last week.

Council voted this month to allow borough engineers to begin project and engineering design for the Ellsworth Avenue Playground rehabilitation project.

The playground is 55 years old, and while it has seen some improvements over the years, borough manger Joe Kauer said, both the surface and equipment are in need of a face lift.

“The asphalt is full of very large cracks. The fencing has seen its day. The sidewalks are all buckled because the trees around there have just taken over,” he said.

A December grant from the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources will help offset the project cost and help the borough to complete the project within the year. Kauer said preliminary designs put the cost around $132,000.

The $45,200 grant is part of nearly $2.4 million in park grants the borough has received over the past eight years.

In addition to landscaping and surface improvements, Kauer said, engineers plan to reuse some of the existing playground equipment and improve accessibility.

“Right now, the playground is in a raised bed,” he said. “It really isn't accessible for someone with special needs.”

He said the plan is not to redesign the playground, but rather improve it.

“In reality, what's up there is a great asset to the community. It fits well,” he said. “We don't want to reinvent the wheel.”

He said council members plan to meet within the month to finalize the initial design of the park. Council members hope to advertise for bids for the project in May and have construction under way by the summer in order to have the park open and complete by fall.

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