Over the past couple of years, there's been plenty of action with various improvements to the Panhandle Park. But there still remains a host of renovations in the works.
We asked Sarah Madland, Rec & Parks' Director of Policy and Public Affairs, about the status of Panhandle updates and what we might expect for the park's brighter future.
Firstly: Yes, those pedestrian safety improvements are still underway. These changes—which will include restriped paving, new signage, benches, trash cans, bicycle racks, and new traffic indicators—are currently in design and are scheduled for completion around late summer 2016.
These improvements will also include a repaved southern pedestrian path, if adequate funding is secured for it.
Secondly: There's a pending Panhandle-related application for funds from the 2012 Community Opportunity Fund bond. The application on file is for $60K to pave and improve the area around the William McKinley statue in the Panhandle.
This one is still up in the air, Madland said, with applications currently being considered, and funding decisions to be made next month.
And last, but not least: Remember in 2014, when the city announced that the Panhandle playground—which hasn't had a facelift in 18 years—was one of six city playgrounds to receive funding from a "failing playgrounds" fund?
This is still in the works, Madland reassured, saying that "it will definitely get done," although "we do not have a timeline for the renovation as of yet. We still have to do community meetings" to get feedback and establish a plan, she said.
What playground improvements might be in store? It all depends on the results of community meetings and planning, but we spoke with a neighborhood mom who said she'd like to see some rust and splinters cleaned up on the playscape, at the very least.
"It could definitely use it," she said. "And what's that?" she said, gesturing to a broad quadrant of sand with a steel pipe mounted over it. "I don't even know what that's supposed to be. Nobody really uses that area."
She said the equipment was also oddly-sized, so that children who were about one or one-and-a-half couldn't comfortably use most of the equipment. "There's a weird age gap," she said.
As always, we'll keep you posted on progress and opportunities for community input in the playground planning.