SARATOGA SPRINGS — The heat Thursday didn’t stop Michaela Vitale from taking her children to play in the splash pad and on the jungle gym at the Veterans Memorial Park in Saratoga Springs.
There was one downside.
The playground didn’t have much to offer her 2-year-old daughter Vienna Vitale. All Michaela could do was push Vienna on the wooden-framed bucket swing.
The playground, which has the wooden swing set and a metal and wood slide, along with some other older plastic equipment is set to get a over $800,000 upgrade next month.
The city will be replacing the older pieces with items like a custom wave net, pendulum swing, spinners and giant custom mega tower, according to a presentation on the project. The new playground will take up 6,000 square feet.
An inclusive playground will take up an additional 2,300 square feet and include a wheelchair carousel, dolphin spring toy, fully inclusive ramp, spinner and will have poured-in-place rubber.
New swing sets at the playground will include an inclusive bucket, two standard belt seats and two infant seats.
The park will also have new benches.
According to Recreation Director John Hirliman, he anticipates the project taking 60 days to complete. The splash pad will be closed during construction.
Vitale’s father, Stephen Martin, was at the park Thursday and he said a new playground is much needed.
“They need something that’s definitely safer for children,” he said.
The family goes to the park three to four times a month, when Vitale visits from Latham.
Martin said updated, more attractive playgrounds will get kids out their front doors, rather than inside playing video games.
“You can see all the kids interacting,” he said.
Vitale really liked the idea of having an inclusive playground, too, that can fit everyone’s needs.
Kelly Mylott lives over on Geyser Crest and was at the splash pad with her 7-year-old and 2-year-old sons. She said the Geyser Crest Elementary School playground is better than the park’s, but it’s not open in the summer.
She was excited to hear upgrades are coming to the park.
“This one, I think, is directed more toward the younger ages,” she said.
She also said it’s really small, but has so much space to add more equipment.
Waterfront Park will also get a new playground and bathroom, costing over $150,000, not including new fencing, benches and signs and the bathroom upgrade costs are estimated to be $10,000.
The new jungle gym there will include multiple slides and climbing pieces. There will also be a new swing set added.
Waterfront will remain open during construction, which is set to begin mid-fall and last 30 days.
The city is also in the middle of constructing a new skate park at East Side Recreation. That project’s price tag is over $400,000, with $70,000 coming from the nonprofit group OnDeck.
The skate park, built in 1989, is the oldest municipal skate park in the state. The updated version will include concrete features such as a bowl, banks and ledges for varying skateboarding levels.
The city is also adding multi-use sport courts to the recreation center on Vanderbilt. The sport court project will cost over $150,000, get underway in August, and take roughly 15 days to complete, according to a presentation on playground upgrades.
Reporter Shenandoah Briere can be reached at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter @ByBriere.