County lands grant for playground equipment

An artist's conception of the new playground that will be built at the Clarion County Park. Construction of the playground is expected to start in January 2020.

PAINT TWP. - The final piece of the financing for Clarion County Park's playground fell into place last week as $192,800 Community Parks, Small Community and Partnership grant was recently awarded to Clarion County by the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, according to state Sen. Scott Hutchinson (R-21) and state Rep. Donna Oberlander (R-63).

The county was awarded the funding for improvements to Clarion County Park in Paint Township. The project includes construction of a pavilion, installation of play equipment with required safety surfacing and fencing, ADA access, landscaping and other related site improvements.

"This grant represents a sizable investment by the state in the development and improvement of Clarion County Park," Hutchinson said in a prepared news release. "The improved recreational facilities at the park, such as a new pavilion and the playground equipment, will provide new opportunities and improve the quality of life for everyone in the Clarion community."

Oberlander, also in a prepared statement, added, "Clarion County Park is deserving of these funds, as it is a wonderful place for activities in central Clarion County. The park has grown considerably over the years, and this grant will allow officials there to make necessary upgrades for both safety and accessibility. I thank the county and its staff and volunteers for applying for this highly competitive grant and all the work they put into making this a great facility in our area."

Clarion County Commissioner Ted Tharan said there is a playground at the park now but it is not all-inclusive.

"There are sensory objects including drums, a xylophone and a wheelchair swing," said Tharan. "It is a matching grant. The match (can) include money and in-kind labor."

A community committee raised money for the match.

"They held a bluegrass concert and had a food cart at Clarion River Days and a gun raffle," said Mindy Frampton, confidential administrative assistant and grant coordinator.

The county also used a portion of the Marcellus Shale Legacy fund money.

The county maintenance crew will build the playground and the labor will also qualify as part of the matching funds.

"A representative of the playground equipment company will supervise the construction," said Frampton.

The playground will be 80-feet by 120-feet in size. The base will be a rubber safety surface. The rubber surface will cost $76,000 in addition to the cost of the playground equipment.

"We wanted a better quality," said Frampton. "We are talking about the safety of the kids. The old playground is definitely aging. The new one had to be ADA accessible so it was a win-win."

Frampton said the playground could be expanded.

Construction will begin in January 2020.