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June 13, 2014

Plans underway to revamp playground at Peabody park

(Continued)

Davis anticipates spending about $150,000 for the playground equipment and said the rubber surfacing could cost an extra $35,000.

It’s a heavy duty recycled rubber and just like “a big cushion,” she said. “You might pay for it upfront, but...it’s going to last a lot longer.” And it’s safer, she added.

Additional project criteria were that it boost the city’s green infrastructure, is located in a newly dedicated parkland area, increases environmental equity, includes tree planting and has some city funding.

The link to nature will be creating a trail head at the park — and possibly extending it to the Veterans Memorial Drive housing project — to connect to an undeveloped network of walking trails across 206 acres in South Peabody from Spring Pond to Sidney’s Pond.

The city has done some preliminary work on the trail system the past few years, but is still trying to secure major funding to clear and improve existing paths while adding new paths and related amenities.

Davis envisions an archway at the new trail head with signs announcing entry to the trail network. Some poison ivy and brush will have to be cleared.

The city had to submit two proposals for the Our Common Backyard grant program. The state chose MacArthur Park over an improvement plan for Lalikos Park off Lowell Street.

Before the project can move forward, the City Council must approve the submission of the grant application, dedicate the land for park and recreation purposes and agree to fully fund the project at $250,000.

Once votes are in place, the city will pursue contracts for designs and construction. The project needs to be complete by Dec. 31.

The city can apply for state reimbursement up to $200,000 once construction is finished. Davis said it remains to be decided how the city will pay its $50,000.

Even though the park has always been a park, it’s not recorded that way at the Registry of Deeds, said Davis, and exact language is needed for the grant. The Park Commission voted June 5 to that end.

The City Council received the related documents on Thursday, but did not take a vote that night.

You can reach John Castelluccio at 978-338-2527, jcastelluccio@salemnews.com or via Twitter at @SNjcastelluccio.

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