City Likely to Invest Tens of Thousands for New Playground at Recreation Complex

By Jeff Toquinto on January 19, 2014
Connect Bridgeport

Barring the bucking of a trend, the Bridgeport Recreation Complex will have another amenity this coming summer. Bridgeport Parks and Recreation officials have already applied for a grant that would result in a $60,000 playground at the highly utilized facility.

“We feel pretty good about the grant,” said P&R Deputy Director Joe Shuttleworth. “We’ve had a lot of success with the grant program.”

The grant program Bridgeport is going through is the Land and Water Conservation Fund grant program. For years, the city has successfully applied for grants through the program. Funds from the Land and Water Conservation program have been used for the construction of the Bridgeport swimming pool, the tennis courts, the boat docks and Hinkle and Deegan Lakes, the construction of Compton Park and the Sprayground.

“The funds provided by this program are substantial funds. It’s a 50-50 grant program,” said Shuttleworth.

The city’s application is for $30,000. The city’s match is $30,000; leaving $60,000 budgeted for the new playground if/when money is approved.

And it’s not the first time funds have been targeted through the grant source for the now two-year-old Recreation Complex. Shuttleworth said the basketball court and picnic area beyond the multi-purpose field was funded through the same program. As for the new project – if approved – it will put in a project that was eliminated when the Complex was being value engineered to keep costs in line.

“The area where the new playground will go was set aside already because it was in the original plans. It’s by the baseball; in the right field corner of the Little League field,” Shuttleworth said. “It’s already prepped and ready to go.”

Although nondescript, there are indicators that the site was already prepped for the playground. A white piece of PVC sticks from the ground for the hookup of utilities, while the right field fence on the baseball field is several feet higher to help reduce the possiblity of someone getting hit with a foul ball.

So what will it include? It will be a standard playground with a playground structure for children and a small picnic pavilion. The pavilion will have four to six tables under it and will allow those attending games a chance to have a nice area to eat and even relax. It will also allow children who aren’t involved with tournaments a place to go and have fun.

“One of the problems we’ve noticed during tournaments is that you have a lot of younger siblings running around because they don’t have things to do. Because of that, sometimes they’re getting into things they shouldn’t be getting into,” said Shuttleworth. “This should help occupy their attention during what sometimes are very long days for families at the complex.”