BELLEAIR BLUFFS — The total changeout and makeover of the playground at City Park will be finished and open for use by the middle of November, in plenty of time for children and adults to begin trying out the new equipment during the holiday season. The completion date had been previously scheduled for around the end of the year.
City Administrator Debra Sullivan announced the schedule for the playground’s completion at the October 18 city commission meeting.
The teardown of the current playground was done the week of Oct. 18, in preparation for arrival of the new equipment Oct. 25. Installation of the new items will take two to three weeks, she said, and “by the middle of November, we should be done.”
She also mentioned the possibility of adding a pagoda to the park site, with “covered bench seating,” which would be paid for by a donation. In a later comment, Sullivan told the Bee the idea of a pagoda is very preliminary at this point.
Commissioner Taylour Shimkus, who has championed the new playground and played a big role in its planning, said, “Everything is going well, and we hope everybody will be happy with how it turns out.”
The playground makeover has been a major project for the city, which Shimkus said had been “three years in the making.”
It is costing $150,000, financed by a $50,000 grant from the state of Florida and a gift of $100,000 in memory of local businessman David Berolzheimer, longtime owner of the Bluffs Plaza Shopping Center, given by his companion Bonnie Starr.
The playground design picks up ideas from other cities that would be a good fit for Belleair Bluffs. Shimkus has said there will be a large variety of swings, slides, climbers and new styles of play equipment for children of all ages, plus an adult fitness area.
The initial schedule for installing the new playground called for waiting until after the city’s Dec. 3 holiday event to start the work, with completion by the end of the year.
Now, that has changed. Shimkus told the Bee, “We got lucky and were able to move up the date.” She said the parts were available and everything just came together “really, really quickly.”