First Look at the New Wild West Jordan Playground
May 20, 2019 02:04PM
● By Erin Dixon
The new playground near West Jordan City Hall is meant for all-abilities, including a flat play surface and wheelchair-accessible components. (Photo courtesy West Jordan)
By Erin Dixon | [email protected]
Wild West Jordan Playground version 2.0 was scheduled to open in May of this year. Now it’s debut is projected for mid-fall. What is the setback?
(To see our previously published article about Wild West Jordan, visit here: http://www.westjordanjournal.com/2018/12/11/185425/wild-west-jordan-playground-is-no-more-new-struct...)
It will be bigger and more expensive.
Last year, when the original structure was torn down, city leaders allocated $800,000. The design that came back using with that amount was a simple park with minimal features.
In February, the Parks division presented a preliminary new design to the West Jordan City Council. The draft was met with a lack of enthusiasm.
Councilmember Chad Lamb wanted to give more to the residents than a basic park. He said of the first design, “I was hoping to get more options of designs. It’s not something that I think is unique or different or exciting.”
Kim Wells, former public information officer for the city, expounded on the reaction of the council to the $800,000 design.
“Partly when the plans were presented to the council, they wanted to see something even bigger with more play components,” she said. “It’s a really important park for the city, so they wanted to make sure this playground reflected that. When the plans came back, I think they were underwhelmed.”
Wells clarified why $800,000 can only go so far when building a park.
“Partly because these types of playgrounds are commercial grade, they’re designed to last, they’ve got to take a lot of use by a lot of children, they’ve got to withstand the elements, and they’re going to last for a lot of years. They’re expensive.”
With council direction, city staff set to work planning a more intricate, and more costly, structure.
The fence alone in the preliminary design cost $60,000, giving a good reference point to how much a large playground can cost.
Ultimately, the city council voted to spend the entirety of the $800,000 on the play structure, and in the near future will allocate additional funding for the fence and surfacing.
Patrick Alcorn, construction manager for the city, said there isn’t a set completion date. Because the play elements are entirely custom, officials are waiting for fabrication before they can start construction. The goal is for sometime this fall.
The new playground will have a longer life than the previous Wild West Playground built in 2004, which lasted just over 14 years. The new one is projected to last 20.
“[O]ur last structure was basically TREX and screws would poke through, and this [new one] is all metal with some type of Teflon, plastic coating on all the pieces,” Alcorn said. “It’s very weather resistant and maintenance friendly.”
The new Wild West Jordan will also be more inclusive for children with different mobility needs.
“One of the unique features is it’s one of the larger all-abilities playground,” Alcorn said. “So, there’s quite a bit of area you could get to if you were wheelchair bound.”
The ground surface is a soft, springy material rather than wood chips. A wheelchair can reach almost the highest point of the structure. A fence will surround the entire structure, making it easier to keep track of children, especially those prone to bolting away unexpectedly.
Children will be more protected from the summer sun with awnings over some of the play area.
“That was one of the requests we had come from the public quite regularly: ‘Can you give us some shade?’” Wells said.
Though it takes a little more room than the previous structure, construction will not obscure or disturb any of the nearby roads, playgrounds or trees.
“It’s about 16,000 square feet; it’s a little bit bigger,” Alcorn said. “We will not be taking any of the existing trees.”