Building a handicapped accessible playground at in Peconic is something Jim McMahon, head of Department of Public Works, has been wanting to do for some time – since no wheelchair-friendly playgrounds currently exist on town property.
But despite an offer of financial assistance from Southold IGA owner Charles Reichert, the town cannot afford this type of project at this time, McMahon told the Town Board during Tuesday’s work session at Town Hall.
“The expense really isn’t in the playground itself – it’s the surface material that needs to be put down to make everything wheelchair accessible,” he said. “A swing set might be $5,000 but add the surface material and you’re looking at about $15,000.”
McMahon’s initial plans for a handicapped accessible playground at Tasker, something that he said would be a combination of something new and a conversion of equipment that is already there, would cost the town about $100,000 — too much, given the $20,000 offered from Reichert combined with park and recreation reserves the town could pull, McMahon said.
“I’m not avoiding the project but this is something that seems impossible for us to put together right now,” he said.
Southold Town’s Parks and Recreation Department works with a steering committee that has been analyzing the needs of handicapped children in town. They’re been trying to come up with ways that children of all types can enjoy a playground setting together, McMahon said.
At work session, Southold Town Supervisor Scott Russell recommended that McMahon focus on the money that is offered in donations and scale back plans at Tasker Park for now.
“We can always add on to it depending on how much is available in donations,” Russell said.
“The good thing is that we at least have a game plan now,” McMahon added.