Murrysville council sees final design concepts for ‘destination playground’ at MCP
As soon as the greater Pittsburgh area sees a few days of consistently dry weather, Jim Morrison plans to turn Murrysville’s public works crews loose to begin site work for a “destination playground” at Murrysville Community Park.
“We were hoping to have most of the groundwork done by this point,” Morrison told council members. “But we can’t even walk around down there right now.”
Council saw final design plans this week for more than $676,000 in improvements to the park off Wiestertown Road. Costs have risen slightly from earlier estimates ranging from $500,000 to $600,000.
The price increased, in part, due to minor tweaks, such as an archway entrance and additional fencing and landscaping, but the primary driver is an installation cost over and above what municipal officials had projected.
“When we went out and actually got the pricing, it ended up being significantly more,” Morrison said. “There’s maybe a handful of people in the Pittsburgh area who do this work. There’s some specialty involved there.”
The overall size of the playground pad also increased slightly, according to Scott Hilty, municipal engineer.
“One of the bigger things is that the park area itself is basically all sloped,” Hilty said.
Natural contours of the site will be incorporated into the overall design as much as possible, Morrison said.
“The main thing we want to emphasize right now is that this will be on elevations,” he said. “If you had a picture in your mind of a large, flat area where all the equipment is situated, that’s not what it will be.”
The final design includes separate playground areas, one for 2-to-5-year-olds, and another for 5-to-12-year-olds, a splash park, swing area and small zip line.
Council members were pleased with what they saw.
“I think it’s a great use of the space we have out there,” Councilwoman Jamie Lee-Korns said.
Both Councilman Loren Kase and Council President Josh Lorenz were not fazed by the additional cost, particularly considering that the municipality has about $1.2 million earmarked for park improvements.
“It’s over our original budget, but in no way does it deplete the funds we have for improving the park,” Lorenz said.
“People I’ve heard from are really excited for this…, so I think if it goes over cost, that’s fine. Let’s go for it,” Kase said.
If the project holds to $676,000, that will leave roughly $600,000 for other amenities, such as an amphitheater that was proposed as part of the overall park plan.
Both Morrison and Hilty said that things like naming rights for the amphitheater and donations for additional amenities like benches, picnic tables or even a pavilion, could help offset the cost of future improvements.
The new playground area will include two restrooms and a changing room in a small building that will also house controls and electricity infrastructure for the splash park.
Morrison said this season’s persistent wet weather could push back the original installation timeline, but he still hopes to have the playground available for use this summer.
Patrick Varine is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Patrick at 724-850-2862, firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter .