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Friday, September 18th 2015 10:49 am

Park improvements underway throughout Cape Coral

Capital improvements, which virtually disappeared from the citys budget, are back and in progress now at three city parks.

Improvements costing about $227,000 are about to start or under way. Children and parents will see changes underfoot and over their heads. In some places, theyll also have new equipment to slide on or climb, according to Parks Superintendent Kerry Runyon.

  • Work at the Yacht Club is expected to start within two weeks.
  • Work has started at Four Freedoms Park.
  • Work also has started at the Youth Center, where the mulch will be replaced with an artificial turf called X-grass.

Heres a look at whats ahead for each park.

Four Freedoms Park(budget: $118,000)

Some equipment is too old to get replacement parts anymore so it will be removed and replaced with a one-piece playground set with slides and climbing activities, Runyon said. X-grass will be used to replace the tiled playground surface. Therell be two playgrounds. One will be for children 2 to 5 years old. The second is for older children. Four Freedoms is one of the citys most heavily used parks, although Jim Jeffers Park outdraws it, Runyon said.

Youth Center(budget: $69,000)

At the Cape Coral Youth Center mulch is being replaced with a product called X-grass.

Its kind of like Astroturf grass, but it has a cushion to it, Runyon said. The same surface is used at the Storm sports complex, and it cuts down costs, she said.

Yacht Club(budget: $40,000)

A tough beach environment is a factor in the changes being made at the Yacht Club, where a brand new playground for children with disabilities is being added near the swimming pool.

Its a one-piece structure. It has slide and a climbing part to it, Runyon said.

The surface, even if you put in another type of surface, is very difficult to maintain because of the environment. Were constantly spending a lot of money.

Previously the city installed soft tiles at the beach to help children with disabilities access the playground. The tiles are hard to keep clean and get damaged by the sun and weather. Theyll be replaced with sand. A broader sun shade covering about 95 percent of the play area is being installed as well, Runyon said.

Moving the ADA playground did not require any state or federal approvals, Runyon said.

We just followed that if you have play structure for a child without any type of difficulties you have to have something they can play on or do for ADA children, Runyon said.

Looking Ahead

Were going to have other items come out soon. Weve repaved a lot of parking lots within the city, Runyon said.

The list includes parking lots at the BMX track, Jim Jeffers Park, Four Freedoms, Joe Stonis Park, the Pelican Field baseball lots and the Koza-Saladino Park. This week the irrigation system for the Pelican baseball fields will be replaced. Paul Sanborn Park is scheduled to get a shade cover soon.

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