Final SNAP playground increment completion set for mid-October
Construction has been underway and an estimated completion date has been set for mid-October for the final increment of the SNAP playground.
The final portion of the SNAP project will include the main playground, Playground B; themed signs throughout the park; and additional landscaping. According to Project Manager Bob Francis, the concrete has been laid and the concrete ramp has been installed in preparation for the special needs accessible playground equipment to be installed. Before installation, however, a rubber, fall-safe surface will be laid over the concrete and railing will be added to the ramp.
The main playground will include a triple slide; spiral slide; a WeSaw, a four-person seesaw; a sandbox and wheelchair-accessible sandtable; climbing elements; xylofun and bongo panels; and other features. As with all SNAP elements, Francis said the playground is aimed to engage all six of the children’s senses and designed to comply with the standards set by the Americans with Disabilities Act.
In order to install the equipment, though, the SNAP board is currently waiting for their grant to arrive. The board received a grant from the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs. Although the grant has already been approved, they are waiting for it to be delivered to the city. Francis said mid-October is an approximate completion date, but they are unsure of the date at this time.
“Mid-October is our best guess,” Francis said. “All we know for sure is that the date from delivery to the completion of the playground is 45 days.”
Whenever the playground is complete, the SNAP board is planning to hold a grand opening ceremony with several guest speakers. As the guests of honor, special needs students from Morgan County and Hartselle City schools will be invited. The grand opening will also include an unveiling of the new themed signs, which Francis said are going to be a special surprise.
The project, which will be worth approximately $900,000 at completion, began in 2006 when the Rotary Club of Hartselle decided to assist the Civitan’s Club of Hartselle by providing funding to help install a special needs accessible swing set that they had purchased. They then decided to join with other local civic organizations, including the Lions and Kiwanis clubs and were soon joined by city government agencies and non-profit organizations. The master plan was created in 2008. The swings were installed later that year, followed by the splash pad in 2010, the pavilion in 2011 and the entryway and playground in 2013. Francis said the project has taken many small steps to reach the end.
“The SNAP project has been like putting together a jigsaw puzzle,” Francis said, “but we’ve tried to put things in place as soon as we had the funding.”
Francis praised the volunteers for their creativity and hard work, crediting them for the completion of the project.
“We’ve had 10 core volunteers who have seen the project through,” Francis said. “However, I wouldn’t want to take away anything from the many volunteers who have come into the project at different points. We have had approximately $250,000 of in-kind donations, including contracting services, landscaping services, painting and so many more. We have had a wonderful, congenial group full of talent and great ideas.”
In finishing the project, Francis said he eventually hopes to document the nine-year SNAP project in a master document to allow other cities who might be interested in installing a special needs accessible playground to learn from their journey.