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Playground improvements on tap at four Federal Way parks

New playground equipment at Saghalie Park will include several climbing and up-to-date attractions. The toys could be in place by year
New playground equipment at Saghalie Park will include several climbing and up-to-date attractions. The toys could be in place by year's end.
— image credit: Courtesy of Sitelines Park and Playground Products and City of Federal Way

Four local parks are scheduled for improvements that include new play equipment and safety features.

On Oct. 20, the Federal Way City Council approved $227,651 worth of modifications at Alderdale, Sacajawea and Saghalie parks, as well as Steel Lake Annex. The parks are among those the Parks Commission and city staff inspected and identified as high priorities for equipment replacement.

The play structures are primarily made of wood and are beginning to decay, said Steve Ikerd, parks and facilities manager. Steel Lake Annex's play apparatus is also broken and vandalized.

Northwest Playground Equipment Inc. and Sitelines Park and Playground Products were chosen to install the new playground items. The city agreed to pay Northwest Playgrounds no more than $97,312 for its services at Alderdale Park, 2700 S.W. 340th Place. It will pay Sitelines Park and Playground Products no more than $130,339 for its work at Steel Lake Annex, 2645 312th St.; Sacajawea Park, 1401 S. Dash Point Road; and Saghalie Park, 33914 19th Ave. S.W.

Specialized rubber material that lessens the impact of a fall will also be placed beneath the play toys in Alderdale and Saghalie parks.

"It's self-cleaning and a lot less maintenance by staff," Ikerd said.

Replacements at Steel Lake Annex and Sacajawea parks could be finished by year's end. Wood chips will be placed at those locations. Alderdale and Saghalie may not see new configurations until spring 2010, due to weather conditions that may prohibit pouring the rubberized material that protects children during a fall.

The work is not projected to cost the full amount allotted, Ikerd said. Ten percent of the total price estimate was set aside in case there are unforeseen costs, he said.

The money will come from the city's capital improvement project fund. Each year, finances are placed into the account for playground repairs and replacements, Ikerd said. Last year, a play structure at Wildwood Park, 2315 S. 300 St., was superseded.

Each of the four parks on this year's list last saw large playground alterations in the early 1990s, Ikerd said. Wood arrangements tend to last about 15 years, he said. Metal toys will be erected in place of the wood structures at each of the four parks. The types of toys will not change much from what is now there, Ikerd said. The equipment will still aim to please the same age group it currently serves, he said.

Alderdale is a neighborhood park. Steel Lake Annex is primarily frequented by those using the baseball fields at Steel Lake Park. Saghalie mostly serves patrons of the nearby soccer fields and middle school. Sacajawea is a neighborhood park and is also used by students at the nearby middle school.

The city's 21 playgrounds are monitored for safety issues regularly, Ikerd said. Staff visually inspects the framework and play space when it maintains the grounds weekly, he said. Once a quarter, a certified inspector does a more detailed evaluation of each playground. Everything, down to the nuts and bolts, is checked, Ikerd said.

The city does not have a way to track or estimate how many people visit its parks annually, but Ikerd said the four on the list appear popular.

"The playgrounds seem to be well used," he said.

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