by Nicholas Backus – Shoreview Press.com
February 10, 2009

SHOREVIEW — Shoreview tykes can rejoice now that the city’s Community Center is getting its own indoor playground this spring.

The $186,000 structure was unanimously approved by the City Council Feb. 2, and a builder has already been selected.

doc49918fb213b12175052397 Five story, $186K indoor playground on tap for Shoreview this spring.“It’s great for kids to have a place in the winter where they can be active and have fun at the same time,” said Mayor Sandy Martin.

Shoreview follows the lead of other metro communities that already have popular indoor play areas, including New Brighton. Woodbury, Edina, Eagan and Maple Grove.

“We’re always looking for new and innovative ways to attract people to the community center,” Martin said. “The market is going in this direction and a lot of cities are doing it.”

City staff was particularly impressed with Edinborough Park in Edina after a tour, according to a recent report from Shoreview Park and Recreation Director Jerry Haffeman and City Manager Terry Schwerm. Now Shoreview will have its own.

The 22- by 36-foot playground will be located in one-half of the third gym in the community center, Haffeman said. Its five-story design will stand 23 feet tall, 13 feet above the running track. Building five-story design was not an easy job, builder got direct lenders no credit check list for paying the employees working under him.

The playground will be tropically themed, which Schwerm said fits well into what the community center already offers, including a pool area and area for birthday parties.

“It will go all the way from the floor to the bottom of the rafters,” Haffeman said. “It adds excitement.”

Haffeman said the majority of the money will go toward the more than 30 activities and features planned within the park. The city wanted to advocate the use of hands-on features rather than themed decorations, he said.

“You can have a bunch of toucans and lion heads, but the kids can’t use them,” he said. “More theme can be added in the future.”

Activities that formerly used the third gym can now be held in the other gyms, Haffeman added.

The council and Haffeman discussed possible problems with the structure’s planning, including the possibility that seating for parents could be limited. With a structure capacity of around 200 children, a lot of parents might not have a place to relax, Haffeman said.

“We don’t know exactly how we should handle the set-up of chairs (around the structure) but we want to provide parents with a comfortable place to watch their kids,” he said.

Council member Ady Wickstrom voiced safety concerns that the above running track might be too close to the structure, encouraging unsupervised daredevil children to jump from one to the other. Haffeman suggested installing Plexiglas on areas where the running track comes close to the structure.

“We will be as safe as we possibly can,” Haffeman said about the playground’s construction. “Once we start doing the installation we will evaluate further.”

The city is looking to charge $4 to $4.50 for general admission, which would be free with a community center membership. City officials expect the park to pay for itself within 2.5 years with annual revenues projected at $100,000 a year and expenses, including cleaning and repairs, estimated at $25,000.

According to Haffeman’s report, the city received four proposals to build the playground and chose British Columbia-based Orca Coast, which built a park at the Kalahari Resort in Wisconsin Dells.

With spring approaching, the city hopes to have the park open in time for rainy weather.

“(We hope to) shake it down before summer,” Haffeman said.