State money aimed at playground equipment

Posted: Monday, June 11, 2007

As school children and their teachers probably know too well, all work and no play is less likely to make Jack and Jill dull as it is to have them bouncing off the walls.

Hence, there is great wisdom in scheduling recess periods during those interminable elementary school days. It helps, however, to be able to offer the energetic kids equipment capable of handling their exuberance.

Therein lies a problem for the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District: Some of its playground equipment is in serious need of repair and upgrade.

For the past few years, the borough has been working to repair and replace unsafe equipment. The current borough budget includes $122,000 for the boroughwide project and some schools already have had their playgrounds and equipment tended to, according to administration Chief of Staff Tim Navarre.

The Alaska Legislature recently appropriated $70,000 toward that work, and borough officials expect the money will survive any budget vetoes Gov. Sarah Palin may be considering for the fiscal year 2008 state capital budget.

According to Bonnie Golden, borough grants manager, the legislative grant requires no matching funds and the money would be available for up to five years.

If the governor approves the money, the borough maintenance department anticipates completing as nearly as possible all remaining playground upgrades this summer with what is left in the 2007 kitty plus the additional state funding.

An ordinance introduced at the Tuesday assembly meeting would accept and appropriate the state dollars. Ordinance 2006-19-58 is set for public hearings June 19 and July 10. The measure has been introduced prior to the governor’s signature on the capital budget so there would be as little delay in initiating the necessary work as possible should the governor approve the funds, Golden said in a memo to the assembly.

Among the schools expected to see work done this year are Sterling Elementary and Mountain View Elementary, schools at Kachemak Selo and Voznesenka, as well as other campuses around the borough, Navarre said.

Hal Spence can be reached at

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