By Brad Barker

The Vinton Parks & Recreation Department is excited to announce that new playground equipment is set to be installed at Riverside Park in August. This project was made possible thanks to the generosity of ‘Play Vinton Project’ contributing donors, Local Option Sales Tax dollars (LOST funds), City of Vinton support and proceeds from the ‘Cans for Kids’ program. This playground will replace the now dismantled wooden Riverside Castle that provided play opportunities to youth over the last 25 years. With a current budget of $140,000 and plans for future expansion, VPRD expects that this new playground will provide exciting and engaging play opportunities for hundreds-if-not-thousands of local children for many years to come. The playground proposal from Boland Recreation in the amount of $130,000 for new Miracle Playground Equipment was selected by the Vinton Parks & Recreation Board and approved by Vinton City Council on May 24th, 2018. There were a total of 14 playground designs submitted from 6 vendors. The modern playground will complement the planned adjacent community nature-based playscape to be completed later this fall.

The Riverside Towers Playground will feature a ‘Ninja Warrior Zone’ that derived from the creative minds of Tilford Elementary students. Last November, Tilford students were asked to brainstorm ideas for what they’d most like to see at their new playground. Among many other very interesting and creative ideas, students insisted that they’d most like to see lots of climbing, swinging and gliding opportunities in a ‘Ninja Warrior’ fitness-based circuit in a similar vein to the popular TV show. In April, each student was given a sticker representing their vote and five options of differing play equipment. They were then invited to cast their solitary vote for the play piece they’d most like to play on. The ‘Ninja Warrior Zone’ was by far and away the overwhelming favorite and we are thrilled to have the opportunity very soon to help kids everywhere release their inner ninja!

The swing area will include traditional belt/bucket swings, an inclusive lounger swing, an adaptive swing and the popular “generation swing” that promotes interaction as adults and children swing together. Although a wheelchair swing was planned for and listed as a required piece in the initial request for proposals (RFP), several vendors immediately indicated that they would be unable to comply as there is not currently a swing available in the US that meets ASTM/IPEMA public playground safety standards. Consequently, the RFP was modified to have the inclusive lounger swing required instead. The playground will feature kid-safe rubberized mulch in a cocoa-brown color.

While plans for the Vinton Splash Pad are temporarily on hold until a decision is made by the City of Vinton on the future status of Kiwanis Park, VPRD is proceeding forward with their promise to deliver new play experiences for local youth in 2018! Construction on the new playground is tentatively scheduled to begin in mid-August and will be community built over the course of several days. Once a specific date is arranged for installation, VPRD will be calling for community volunteer assistance to help in constructing Vinton’s newest play destination!

Find out more information on this playground, other planned play areas in Vinton and the ‘Play Vinton Project’ fundraising campaign at playvinton.com. While visiting the page, please take a look at our ‘Kudos’ page that recognizes our very generous contributors that are making new play opportunities in Vinton a reality!