City workers use creativity to keep costs down on Stow parks repairs

The city reduced costs to replacing playground surface at SOAR park by only replacing the edges where gaps caused tripping problems.

STOW – City workers are using creative ways to improve the city’s recreational areas with a limited operational park budget of $610,000.

Visitors at Oregon Trail Park on Fishcreek Road will see new parasails that provide shade over picnic tables and those using the SOARS playground at Silver Springs Park will see the ground surface replaced to fill in gaps that had caused tripping problems.

The original estimate of cost was $70,000 but the work was completed for $7,000 by cutting out the bad parts and replacing those sections, said Mayor John Pribonic.

At Adell Durbin Park, workers spent a couple weeks taking down dead wood, clearing trails and putting mulch down, said Nicholas Wren, director of public service. They added a gravel mix to the steps that lead to a bridge scheduled for completion in early September. The budget for the bridge was $25,000 but the service department created a bridge for a couple thousand instead. City workers were adding the railing to the bridge on Aug. 18. 

“We reinforced everything underneath,” Wren said. “We used gravel and busted up concrete.”

Pribonic said the bridge at Adell Durbin Park will blend in with the natural setting.

“I’ve never seen more creativity with people coming to the table with ideas,” Pribonic said. “Our creativity has saved us a lot of money. It’s top-notch. You’ll like what you see. It was needed and will look good.”

City workers are putting up new park signage, he said. Workers are focusing on maintenance until council approves funds for larger projects.

“We are doing clean-up projects now,” Wren said. “When funds are released, we plan to do the restrooms [at Adell Durbin Park] as a top priority in the parks projects.”

The restrooms at Adell Durbin are estimated to costs $40,000 to make them ADA compliant.

Wren said the city is taking an inventory of playground equipment to determine what needs replaced.

“What we’re trying to do is the most in the park system for the residents and doing it with very little money,” Pribonic said.

The city is also working on a connectivity plan for bikes and walkers to connect the community together, he said.

“There are still a lot of things we have to accomplish and have not taken off the board,” Pribonic said. “All those items are still there and we’re trying to make the timing right. We feel good about finances in the city and are being fiscally responsible on what we can do and get the best bang for the buck.”

Gannett reporter Laura Freeman can be reached at

Shade sails were added to the picnic area at Oregon Trail Park on Fishcreek Road.