New way to play on the way

The existing wooden play structure at Miller Park, known as “Fort Miller,” was dedicated in June 1987. The play structure has provided the community with over 35 years of fun. (Courtesy photo)

Replacement of Miller Park play structure in the works

April 15, 2022 — The City of Florence is in the planning stages for replacing the play structure at Miller Park.

The city is working with Buell Recreation to obtain designs and quotes for the replacement structure. During the process, there will be an opportunity for community member input. The city will provide updates on those opportunities through the city website, social media pages, and newsletter.

The city’s goal is to have a new play structure in place by the end of December 2023.

The existing wooden play structure at Miller Park, known as “Fort Miller,” was dedicated in June 1987. The play structure has provided the community a lot of enjoyment over the last 35 years.

The new play structure will be inclusive, meeting ADA standards so that children of all abilities can engage and play on the new structure. In addition, the new play structure will be designed for children ages 5 to 12 years old.

As the city looks for grants to help pay for the replacement and installation of a new play structure, grants will not cover all the expenses. Playground equipment that would provide the experience that everyone has expressed they desire, is simply expensive.

The city is looking at costs in the range of $130,000 to $170,000. Funding for this project will come from a combination of grants and donations. Typically grants only provide 50% of the funds necessary for playground equipment. The other half will need to come from donations.

How to Donate

If an individual or business is interested in making a tax-deductible donation towards completion of this project, please visit the city’s website for online donations. An emailed receipt will be sent for tax records.

Donations can also be made in person at city Hall, dropped in the drop box at city Hall, or mailed to: Miller Park Playground Donation, 250 Highway 101, Florence, OR, 97439

(If you donate in person, through the drop box, or via mail, please indicate if you need a receipt and where to send it.)

Siuslaw Family Connection is sponsoring donation boxes throughout town. If businesses are interested in displaying a donation box or hosting a fundraiser, please email [email protected] or reach out to them on Facebook. 

How does the city plan for and pay for park improvements?

The replacement of the Miller Park play structure and the structure at Munsel Road Park were both included in the city’s 2021-23 Work Plan. The city has an inspection schedule for all play structures to ensure safety for community members. Park equipment, and other city assets, have an anticipated useful life that allows us to plan for future maintenance, replacement, and improvement. We use this information to develop the Work Plan and budget for items.

The city’s budget includes operational maintenance for existing parks through the General Fund. Due to funding constraints and not having a dedicated funding source for park improvements, funding for capital improvements at parks is achieved through grants and in-kind matching funds. The city has been very successful in the past at obtaining grant funding for improvements at current parks and for the creation of new parks and trails. The city budgets for these projects by including anticipated grant funding and the required match as the revenue and estimated costs as the expenditure. For grants, the city is able to combine community contributions, available city funding, city staff time and volunteer time towards the required match.

Some great examples of community participation of donations and time, along with grant funding, to improve our parks include Pepperoaks Park play structure replacement, 18th Street Pocket Park play structure replacement, Singing Pines Dog Park, Miller Park Concessions Stand and Exploding Whale Memorial Park.

The city appreciates the community members who are willing to come together to improve the parks system, both through funds and on-the-ground hard work.

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