Stow parks and rec board OKs new SKiP playground

Krista S. Kano
Akron Beacon Journal
The 27-year-old SKiP playground was torn down in 2018, and since then, city officials have been talking about replacing it. City officials now believe kids could be playing on a new SKiP park by the end of 2021.

Stow's city administration took a step forward in their plans to build a new SKiP playground at the City Center on Monday, receiving unanimous support from the city's Parks and Recreation Board.

"This is a long time coming," Mayor John Pribonic said. "This is not only good for residents, but also another plus for us as far as economic development. This will bring people into our city, and that's why we want to make this really into a stand-alone." 

City council will review a much-anticipated Resolution of Support on Thursday, and if they approve it, Pribonic will resume fundraising efforts that were halted in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

More:Stow officials confident SKiP project will take major step Thursday

Once the funds are secured, the city would solicit bids for playground equipment, using community input as a guide.

"It is so important for our community to have a central gathering place," parks and recreation director Linda Nahrstedt said. "We envision a playground, a play trail and a flexible event lawn for public programming."

Currently, the administration is envisioning a pod-style playground that would feature several different play areas encircling the former SKiP's parking lot. 

Each pod would have varying equipment for climbing, sliding, spinning and swinging, as well as sensory pieces, shade, seating, ADA accessibility and potentially a zipline. Some pods would cater to ages 2-5, while others would be for ages 5-12. 

The park is expected to cost around $600,000. 

Nick Wren, Pribonic's chief of staff and director of public service, explained that once funds are secured, the city would send out their budget and concepts to representatives of playground equipment companies, who would then submit their design ideas for SKiP. 

"There may be something that we all sit down to look at and go 'Boy, I like 95% of what Company A has done.' In playground bids, you can go back and say 'We don't like this 5% of the plan. What can we do instead?'" Wren explained. "We get the opportunity for some back and forth, which is not at all what you get with road projects or things like that. You can comment and make adjustments." 

City council's public improvement committee will review the resolution of support, a requested but not required measure, on Thursday.  If recommended by committee, the full council will vote on it during their meeting that starts at 7 p.m. on Thursday. 

Reporter Krista S. Kano can be reached at 330-541-9416, or on Twitter @KristaKanoABJ.