Playground space might look ready - but not yet

  • November 01, 2022 5:44 PM
    Message # 12974538
    Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Written by Kevin Osburn, ONS resident. Edited by Bill Brooks Urban Times Editor

    As the green leaves of summer take on the golden, crimson and russet hues of fall, we thought it would be a good time to check in on one of the most anticipated Downtown neighborhood projects of the past several years.

    While kids of all ages have been enjoying the soccer fields this fall at the Frank and Judy O'Bannon Old Northside Soccer Park many kids and families have been waiting to enjoy the nearby playspace and splash plaza under construction at the southwest corner of the park.

    When we last wrote about the park in the May 2022 issue, it was anticipated that the construction of the long-awaited playspace, splash pad and picnic shelter would be completed by late summer. But as summer progressed, it became clear that this timeline was more optimistic than realistic.

    Like many construction projects over the past year (including that little roadway project at the southern end of O'Bannon Park), the playspace has been plagued by delays caused by the availability of materials and labor. While our park project is relatively small in comparison to other constructions efforts under way throughout the Downtown area, its size and relative simplicity has not provided immunity from to the dreaded "supply chain issues.”

    Delays have included the difficulty in getting concrete due to the number of infrastructure projects happening in central Indiana, delays in the shipment of replacement parts for some of the equipment purchased in 2015, and an overall shortage of qualified playground installation contractors to install the equipment.

    Those delays have resulted in a new target date to cut the ribbon: late May 2023. Despite these delays, visitors to O’Bannon Park will continue to see progress throughout the fall. The playground equipment will be installed and the park will begin to look close to complete by the end of November.

    This brings us to a very important message that Indy Parks has asked for our help in communicating:

    While the equipment will be installed safety surfacing below the play equipment will not be installed until the spring due to the need for warmer weather to properly cure the poured-in-place rubber surfacing. For this reason, the construction fencing will remain up through this winter.

    While accessing the playspace will be tempting, Indy Parks has asked for our help in ensuring that everyone understands it remains strictly off limits until the safety surfacing is installed. Playing on the equipment without the proper safety surfacing is very dangerous and can lead to serious injury. We ask that everyone please abide by these precautions and encourage your neighbors to do so as well.

    As we said back in May, the journey to realizing the full vision for O’Bannon Park has been long and full of many twists and turns; this is just one more twist in that journey. We have waited several years for this project to be completed; we can certainly wait a few more months.

    When we do, we will celebrate the support and commitment of many neighbors who have made this journey possible including former neighbor and Indiana First lady of the State of Indiana, Judy O’Bannon.

    So, please be patient and let's look forward to the first blooms of spring and the ribbon-cutting of the O'Bannon Park playspace.

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