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Carroll commissioners approve playground equipment, pavilion replacements at several county parks

Carroll County residents will soon be able to enjoy brand-new playgrounds at Charles Carroll Park, Cape Horn Park and the Hashawha Nature Center, as well as new pavilions at Cape Horn and the nature center.

The Board of County Commissioners at their meeting on Thursday approved several requests from the Department of Recreation and Parks to install new playground equipment and pavilion replacements at the parks.

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The first request was for a new $161,547 playground at Charles Carroll Park in Westminster. The playground was installed by the Board of Education in 2004, and many of the original components have been pulled for safety purposes.

“Currently there are two playgrounds at the park,” which is located at the site of the former Charles Carroll Elementary School, said Jeff Degitz, recreation and parks director. “Both are not in good condition and need to be replaced … We will be removing both units and then putting one unit in its place.”

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Commissioner Dennis Frazier, R-District 3, asked if one playground would accommodate the same number of children as two. Degitz said the single set would take up less square footage but would cater to the same age group.

“Typically at most of our parks we do only have one unit,” Degitz said, adding that the cost of the project is covered completely by Maryland’s Local Parks and Playground Infrastructure Funding.

Another request was for approval to install a new $140,553 playground and a 12-foot-by-20-foot pavilion costing $44,857 at Cape Horn Park in Hampstead.

The existing playground was installed in 2000, and most of its components are showing signs of wear.

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“This unit has exceeded its useful life span,” Degitz said. “We also have an old gazebo on the property which exists in the middle of the athletic fields … We are going to remove that and replace it with a small pavilion.”

The project is funded largely by Program Open Space funds, with approximately 90% of the cost covered by the state.

A third request was made for approval to install a $58,613 small playground at Hashawha Nature Center in Westminster. The existing playground was originally installed in 2002.

“This, again, is an example of taking care of our existing park infrastructure,” Degitz said.

He noted the project is less costly than the others because the department is looking to only put in several swings and other smaller pieces. The project is also fully funded by state dollars.

“This is a small play area located behind the main building at Hashawha … It is primarily used by the outdoor school and our rental groups that come in during the summer and on weekends,” he said.

In addition, the Department of Recreation and Parks requested to transfer $10,500 of its own unallocated funds into a replacement project for the Bear Branch Pavilion at Hashawha. The new pavilion would be installed adjacent to the nature center building.

While most of the project’s cost will be covered by $150,000 in state funding, Degitz said bids came in slightly over that amount. The additional funding is needed to award the bid of $160,021 and cover any minor incidental costs of the 40-foot-by-40-foot pavilion, which Degitz said is not in good condition.

“We are actually looking to replace it in a different location which is more accessible and more usable by the public,” Degitz said. “It will also work better for supporting summer camps.”

Work on all of the projects will be completed by Cunningham Recreation via an Omnia Partners contract.

Degitz said the projects will likely be completed by next spring or summer.

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