For a price of $322,645, the City of Conway will by sometime near Christmas have a totally new playground at Riverfront Park.
Conway City Council approved the bid at a recent meeting after seeing a video of the proposed equipment that will carry a river theme.
In fact, new assistant administrator/grants coordinator John Rogers says the main focus of the equipment was designed to be reminiscent of the mural of the F.G. Burroughs steamer on Main Street.
Rogers told council that they want someone wearing a blindfold to be able to take it off at the playground and know immediately that they are in Conway.
The Bliss Company won the bid over eight other companies with its bid that was slightly lower than six of the companies for the equipment cost, but more than double the low bidder for the cost of the playground’s surface.
However, a committee of city employees including Parks, Recreation and Tourism director Ashley Smith, City Administrator Adam Emrick, beautification director Timmy Williams, new assistant administrator/planner Mary Catherine Hyman and assistant finance director David Crotts decided that the superior surface was worth its $127,781 cost.
The new surface does away with the familiar mulch and replaces it with a surface that is navigable by children in wheelchairs, making it more inclusive, and it’s also reportedly easier to clean.
The playground will be made of a much more flood-resistant material than the old playground with the only portion not specially designed to be flood resistant being a sliding board.
The equipment shown in the video is red, white and blue, but Rogers says they can change the color, and it will likely be green and tan.
The Sherwood Park playground, continuing its train theme, is expected to open Oct. 5 in conjunction with the city’s Conway Strong festival.
The playgrounds are being paid for with funds received from FEMA.