Alva Review-Courier -

Ambitious plans for Alva's Hatfield Park


August 25, 2019

Installation of this retaining wall on the east side of Hatfield Park is expected to begin in about five weeks. It will be level with the ground and will connect the current toy installation with planned future toys.

Since 2011, the Alva Friends of Play Foundation has been working to make Alva's Hatfield Park a safe and ADA compliant playground for area youth. Until this year, they have accomplished this with only four members. A fifth member joined this year.

Monday night, Aug. 19, at the Alva City Council meeting, Friends of Play Treasurer Bonni Sidders presented ongoing plans for the park. The council has given the group permission to continue with their projects provided they make periodic appearances to explain the latest plans.

The Friends of Play have raised funds for their projects through fundraisers, donations and grants along with help from the Alva Masonic Lodge and many individuals. An upcoming Ride for Hatfield Park will bring in money for their toy maintenance fund.

Sidders presented three requests for council approval. The first is completion of the east retaining wall on the east side of the park next to the big toy which is north of the gazebo. They will dig down approximately two feet to be level with the ground at the road and build a retaining wall alongside both current sidewalks. This is also a preparation step for a future toy installation. Sidders said the group has money for the retaining wall and plans to start in about five weeks.

The second step is to repair existing surfaced areas on the south end of the park and by the Girl Scout Hut. The surfaces around these play structures are deteriorating. Friends of Play plans to remove the old surfacing, re-level sub-surfacing, install concrete curbs and put in new pour-in-place surfacing.

The pour-in-place rubber surface has a five year warranty with an optional 10 year warranty for an additional charge. If the surfacing is maintained and top-coated every two to three years, the surfacing should have a life of 10 to 15 or more years. Sidders said as long as the city's park manager does basic maintenance and inspection on the surfacing, the Friends of Play will do their part in scheduling and paying for the top coating maintenance when necessary. The foundation has a maintenance fund for this purpose.

This rubber surface is ideal for heavily used recreational spaces and meets accessibility standards set forth by ADA guidelines.

In addition to replacing the old surfacing around the toys, the Friends of Play will be installing ADA sidewalks to connect the toy areas to existing sidewalks.

The third request by the Friends of Play is a large project to remove some old toy structures and install new play areas at the east side, west side and north end of Hatfield Park. They estimate this third project will cost about $400,000, and the group is going to a large donor to try to obtain funding.

At the north end of the park (Area 4), the toys will be installed between the pavilion and the volleyball net. The plan is to run the toys east and west and connect the play area to the pavilion with an ADA sidewalk.

On the west side of the park (Area 3), the plan is to remove the current toys including a slide, merry-go-round and swing that are sized for younger children. These current toys are not up to code. New toys will be installed, and an ADA sidewalk will run from the toys to the nearest bridge out to the road.

Alva Friends of Play plan to install new surfacing for toys at Hatfield Park. The surface should have a life of at least 15 years with regular maintenance. Several sidewalks will be added like the one illustrated to provide ADA accessibility.

On the east side of the park (Area 2) in the space between the ship and the existing swing set, Friends of Play plan to remove the swings and install new toys with a pour-in-place surface. There will also be an ADA sidewalk from the play area to the road.

In the final area on the east side (Area 1) next to the current existing toy, another ADA toy area will be installed to allow children to play together in the areas. However, the Friends of Play are seeking some input on how to handle access for winter sledding on what's referred to as "the fast hill". They are looking at different ways to connect the toys including the lighthouse while not blocking the sledding area.

Councilmember Bo Hannaford asked Sidders what the group will do if they don't get the $400,000 in funding. She said they will just continue to work in stages as they have funds available.

The council members expressed their appreciation for the work Alva Friends of Play Foundation is doing.


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