New playground is complete, and paid for

SOUTHWEST HARBOR — Despite a few hiccups in the process and with help from an end-of-year approval of funds by the School Board, the new playground is finished and paid for.

One selectman expressed concern that the playground still had outstanding debt and was not yet finished during several meetings at the beginning of the year. The final price tag for the project came to $242,000, which included a disposal fee for the previous equipment of $13,764 that was not part of the original budget.

“The playground’s complete and the kids are loving it,” Rhonda Fortin, principal at Pemetic Elementary, told the Islander. “And, it’s paid for.”

Last June, voters approved spending $180,000 on the playground, as a loan from the town’s undesignated fund balance. That amount is to paid back in installments of $30,000 per year from tax revenue.

Another $30,000 was raised through donations and fundraising efforts by a few dedicated moms and members of the community.

Nearly $36,000 was approved to be spent on the playground from the school’s capital outlay accounts, one installment from the building account and another from the land and improvements account. Members of the school board approved the final amount during a Dec. 12 meeting.

“It all added up to match what we owed,” said Fortin, who was the overseer of the project.

Replacing the nearly 40-year-old equipment and playground included earthwork on the site following the removal and disposal of the old structure. Once the old fence was removed, drainage improved and the retaining wall examined for stability, local contractor R.F. Jordan & Sons filled and leveled the site. Prior to laying down the handicap accessible surface for the playground, the new equipment was installed.

When Game Time delivered the equipment, according to Fortin, the company had not communicated to her that they would not be able to unload it.

“We paid R.F. Jordan to take if off,” she said. “We needed forklifts.”

Work began on the playground at the end of August as the new school year was starting. Students waited patiently for the new and improved structure that was officially opened with a ceremony on Nov. 14.

Sarah Hinckley

Sarah Hinckley

Former Islander reporter Sarah Hinckley covered the towns of Southwest Harbor, Tremont and neighboring islands.

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