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Playground receives boost from Salem

Thursday, September 1, 2005

Council gives $2,600 for purchase of playground equipment

In heaven Jack Prine is smiling.

The Salem City Council voted unanimously Aug. 25 to give Salem's Park Pride Committee approximately $2,600 to buy playground equipment for the Salem City Park.

Annette Henley, a member of the Park Pride Committee, said the money will be added to the $5,130 raised for the Jack Prine Memorial Fund.

"My kids are going to be so excited," Henley said.

Henley said the Park Pride Committee has selected a playground set that will cost approximately $7,700.

The Park Pride Committee will purchase the playground set from Kid's Structures, an Austin, Texas, based playground equipment dealer.

"I had no idea it was so high to buy kids' equipment," Henley said. "They (Kid's Structures) gave us a great deal and they're wonderful to work with."

The new playground structure will have a slide, S-shaped monkey bars and other features. The structure will accommodate 25 children and is handicap accessible.

The figures do not include costs for surfacing the ground on which the equipment will sit, Henley said.

Salem Mayor Gary Clayton said the city could furnish a pea gravel surface blocked off with railroad ties.

"Pea gravel has always been the best way to go in our experience," Clayton said.

Originally the playground structure would have cost $9,053, including shipping and handling, Henley said.

But Kid's Structures slashed over $900 off the equipment cost and $400 off shipping costs, she said.

She said Prine, who worked tirelessly at the Salem City Park until his death last year, would approve of using his fund to buy playground equipment.

Prine was well known to visitors to the Salem City Park. Prine swept the sidewalks, cleaned up the trash and kept the park in "marvelous condition," Clayton said.

"We paid him for about 20 hours a week, but he spent probably twice that much time each week working out there," Clayton said.

Prine cleaned the park for free for years before he started being paid, he said.

The city allotted $5,000 for park improvements in its 2005 budget, Clayton said. Money for the playground equipment will come out of this fund, he said.

Henley said her organization tried to acquire state and federal grant money to purchase the equipment, but the Salem City Park didn't qualify.

"Basically we were told that our park was in too good a condition to get any help for playground stuff," Henley said.

Melissa McCandlis, another member of the Park Pride Committee, said her organization would order the playground structure this week.

McCandlis said the structure could be ready for use by the spring of 2006.

Mayor Clayton told the council that an inventory of the city's streets and roads is nearly complete.

Clayton said state auditors are requiring cities to include their streets and roads as assets in future audits.

He said the state determines how valuable the roads and streets are by measuring their length and width. Repairs and other improvements to roads are also used in the state's calculations, he said.

An ordinance that would give the city more leverage against property owners who refuse to clean up their property was presented to the city council.

Salem City Attorney Dwayne Plumlee said the ordinance, if enacted, would give the city more legal options to clean up properties.

Councilmen were given a copy of the proposed ordinance and it could be placed on its first reading at September's meeting.

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