New play structures being installed at Gibson Park

New play structures are being installed in Gibson Park.

The Great Falls Park and Recreation Department is removing half of the play equipment at a time to install the new structure and continue to allow public use on the other half, according to Steve Herrig, Park and Rec director.

The old play equipment had been in use for about 20 years, Lonnie Dalke, park superintendent said.

The tot lot came out first, and once the new structure is installed it will be open to the public while Park and Rec crews install the play equipment for older children, Herrig and Dalke said. They’re doing one section at a time, Herrig said, to allow for continued public use.

Crews have been working in the park for about a week and it will take about another week or two to complete the project, Dalke said.

Some residents have posted on social media about the work, but Dalke said no one has stopped to ask city crews in the park about the project.

The old play equipment has to be disposed of, Herrig told The Electric, since the city would still carry liability if the 20-year equipment was donated to another organization.

The new play equipment was funded by a Community Development Block Grant last year, Dalke said.

For 2017-2018 CDBG applications, Park and Rec received $28,000 for an ADA restroom at the Rec Center and $15,800 for ADA sidewalks to play structures. The department had requested $80,000 for the play structures at Gibson Park but that wasn’t approved in the first round of grants. The city later approved the funds through the CDBG timeliness factor. All meetings where those projects were discussed and voted on were open to the public last spring.

Park and Rec replaces play structures as funds allow and the order of replacement is based on age of the equipment. The CDBG funds for replacements are only available in low to moderate income areas.