Shangri La to seek community preservation funds for playground

Jun 5, 2019

Community preservation funding for a new playground for Shangri La could be on the warrant for Fall Town Meeting. 

Carole Malonson, a member of the neighborhood watch and the Open Space Committee, has spear-headed the project and brought plans to the Selectmen’s meeting on Tuesday. 

Because the playground is town property, the Selectmen needed to approve the request before it goes to the Community Preservation Committee. 

Community Preservation funds, which are raised through a surcharge on property tax bills, may only be spent on certain types of projects. Spending the funds must be approved at Town Meeting.

Malonson described the playground’s current state: There is only one piece of equipment remaining as the rest was deemed unsafe and removed. Stormwater frequently pools in the playground, turning it into a massive puddle. The basketball runs East to West, so players on team always have sun shining in their eyes.

Despite this, Malonson said that the playground is beloved by the many kids in the neighborhood, which includes roughly 1,500 homes.

Malonson’s proposal for a new playground would ring in at roughly the same price as other playgrounds in town, and was designed based on responses to a paper and online survey of the neighborhood. 

The playground would be expanded to 100 feet square, and include many pieces of equipment: a large structure for older kids and a smaller one for younger kids, a four seat swing set, a three seat swing set for toddlers with one ADA swing, a merry-go-round, a net for climbing, and a four seat see-saw. The basketball court would be moved to face North to South with new hoops. The playground would also gave benches and picnic tables, some of which would be under pavilion.

The playground would also comply with new rules about accessibility: The whole perimeter would have a walkway of hard-top or rubber matting, and there would be matting paths up to each structure to make the playground accessible to people in wheelchairs.

The playground’s drainage issues will also be addressed — a project Malonson says shouldn’t be too expensive or complicated.

All together, the new playground would cost $220,000. Malonson said that a number of community members have volunteered to help out with tasks like digging down to accommodate the mulch and putting together picnic tables.

The current protections for the playground — a gate that is locked at night and security cameras that feed to the fire station and Police Station — would stay in place. Boulders would be added to prevent someone from unintentionally driving off the driveway and onto the playground.