Kenai Municipal Park West playground nears completion

Children will have many playground features to play on when the City of Kenai completes its community playground.

Already the city has installed a second swing set for toddlers, a fiberglass climbing rock and a red and white climbing octagon in the playground.

“Supposedly that’s the most popular piece of playground equipment in the United States,” City Manager Rick Koch said about the climbing structure.

When the city completes the roughly $275,000 playground project, located in the Kenai Municipal Park West, off of South Forest Drive, it will feature several swing toys and an asphalt play area for children to hold kick ball games, play foursquare or ride big wheels, Council Member Terry Bookey said.

The city will also install lights and landscape the area, Koch said.

“I’m just really excited to see this come to fruition,” he said. “I hope to get lots of positive input from the user groups ... of what they think of that structure and the playground.”

He said he also wants the community to suggest other features that should be included in the playground once it is completed.

Mayor Pat Porter and Bookey spearheaded the project, Koch said, but Bookey said many of the ideas for the different playground features came from the public during community meetings.

“The two items that are there right now actually came from the public of what they would like to see at that playground,” he said.

The asphalt play area was another topic discussed in the meetings, Bookey said.

Currently that area is a roughly 4,000 square-foot parking lot, and children have to cross it and the main entrance of the park to use the bathrooms, said Bookey.

“We just felt that that was too dangerous, and if we could mitigate that in some way, we wanted to do that,” he said.

The city will divert parking to the new lot constructed this year, he said.

Bookey, a father himself, said his children are looking forward to the playground being completed — they even participated in the community discussion.

“Not everything that they wanted made the final cut,” he said, “but they were certainly interested in that big rock.”

Dan Schwartz can be reached at daniel.schwartz@peninsulaclarion.com

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