Cosmo Park playground renovations receive public support

Saturday, July 20, 2013 | 3:12 p.m. CDT; updated 5:16 p.m. CDT, Saturday, July 20, 2013

COLUMBIA — Cosmopolitan Park visitors at a casual public input meeting Saturday morning were largely in favor of plans to renovate the Steinberg Playground, but some would still like to see a water feature.

The meeting was the second of two public sessions to give the community a chance to learn more about planned renovations and offer suggestions. 

"We wanted to show people why we want to make these changes," park planner Matt Boehner said. "We want to encourage more inclusive and accessible play." 

The meeting was held at the Steinberg Playground at the park, where a display was set up with posters that detailed proposed safety and maintenance updates, a map of the finished playground, visual examples of what the new play features may look like and a board discussing plans to make the playground more accessible to people with disabilities.

The playground will take on a "time-machine" theme, with one side of the park focused on natural, prehistoric elements, and the other side having a more futuristic, space-age feel. Notable additions include a plaster stegosaurus that children will be able to dig out of the sand, as well as a three-way racer slide that will allow parents to slide down with their kids. There are also plans to add more shaded seating, water fountains and trash cans. 

Anyone using the park was free to stop by the display, offer suggestions and speak with park planners about the project. Though attendees were largely supportive of the renovation, a few did express the desire to see some kind of water feature or "spraygrounds" near the playground.

"It really comes down to maintenance," Boehner said of a potential water feature. "We would have to figure out exactly where to put it, but it's definitely something that we're looking into."

The budget for the project is $500,000 and will be funded by the parks sales tax, which was extended by voters in 2010. The sales tax is for local parks, and is applied to all retail sales made within the city of Columbia.

The presentation also included a proposed renovation schedule, which included tentative City Council approval by September, and completion by late summer or early fall 2014.

Supervising editor is Zachary Matson.

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