Pflugerville Readies New And Improved Pfluger Park Playground

PFLUGERVILLE, TX — A new-and-improved Pfluger Park playground area is still more than a month away, yet some residents have taken to complaining of the reboot: It's potentially poorly designed, some have hinted on social media; others lament the closure, believing it to be permanent; still others assert the site will be dotted with an all-metal assortment of rides that may burn children under the hot Texas sun.

City officials beg to differ. Pflugerville Parks & Recreation Director James Hemenes spoke to Patch about the plans for a new-and-improved Pfluger Park. The short of it: Reports of what's planned seem tantamount to misperceptions, chiefly being spread through the immediacy of social media on neighborhood groups as some resident spread misperceptions about the project.

More on that later.

Residents with concerns about the revamped playground or its perceived future design have even organized a petition of sorts seemingly designed to protest what they believe will be a poor replacement for the children's park of which they had grown accustomed. "New Kid Friendly Pfluger Park Playgrond" [sic] the MoveOn.org petition started by Larry Davis is titled, containing what amounts to be a list of suggestions — many of which already reckon in the current design.

"As a part of the Pflugerville Pfamily, we are wanting to stand up and protect the Pfluger Park playground/ playscape," the petition reads. "Per the picture by the city of what the new playscape will look like, we want the new playground to be more kid-friendly for children between the ages of 1 to 8 years old. We want to steer away from the all-metal playscape that was proposed by The City of Pflugerville, which seems to only be suited for 10+-year-olds.

"Not to mention, with the hot Texas sun, the metal playscape can burn the kids. We want a place where kids can continue to use their imagination, play hide & seek, a safe climbing structure, slides, and multiply tubes. We want this to be a safe playscape, without taking away from the happiness and fun we have there and keep this park a happy place for our Pflugerville Pfamilies."

At last check, it's secured 44 signatures of a goal of 50.

Related story: Pflugerville Park Playground Temporarily Closed For Renovation

The playground at 515 City Park Rd. closed the week of March 19 to accommodate crews from Dallas-based PlayWell in installing the new version — a process that began this week, Hemenes told Patch. In addition to new play areas, a pavilion and site furnishings that include enhanced accessibility will be added. The largest such recreation area in the city's park inventory, Pfluger Park also has proved to be the city's most popular.

Hemenes said the new version should be open by the third weekend in May, ahead of schedule.

As for the all-metal concerns, Hemenes said metal and aluminum surfaces will be powder coated, a process to decrease heat retention. This type of coating is typically applied electrostatically before being cured and heated for form the outer "skin." The powder typically is a thermoplastic or thermoset polymer, used to create a hard finish tougher than conventional paint.

Other playground elements will be plastic, particularly slides and larger-surface rides. Hemenes added that all the attractions are built to withstand flooding — particularly important given the site's location amid a floodway.

The surfacing material will be made of a material called "engineered wood fiber," a technical term for ground-up lumber or, essentially, mulch, Hemenes said. "It's a lot better than the sand or gravel for fall attentuation," Hemenes said. The term "fall attenuation" refers to the impact of a fall, with engineered wood fiber providing a softer landing in case of tumbles.

Those worried about the new design excluding younger children can cast their concerns aside: A separate playground for the younger set dubbed the "tot" section for those between the ages of two and five will be incorporated into the new design. The "school age" portion, meanwhile, is designed for children between the ages of five and 12, Hemenes said.

"One of the nice things...." the parks & rec director begins in explaining the "tot" space. "The old one didn't have any age-appropriate elements for two- to five-year-olds. The new playground will be divided into what's called 'tot' and 'school age.' " While some of the younger kids might venture to the larger, "school-age" section, the separation of the two areas is required by the Consumer Product Safety Commission, he explained.

All told, capacity at revamped playground will increase by 35 percent, Hemenes said. Plans call for the area to be opened prior to the Deutschen Pfest, an annual festival historically staged on the third weekend in May, Hemenes said. The festival, er, pfestival runs May 18-20 this year.

Despite the Sturm und Drang seen on Facebook neighborhood groups, the plans for a new-and-improved play area — and the attendant enhanced playing experience for the kiddos — appears thoughtful and on time. Before long, even the most skeptical will likely be shouting Wunderbar!

At the request of Patch, the Pflugerville Parks & Recreation Department made a list available of all the various features that will be incorporated into the new design.

5-12 PLAY UNIT:

  • Spiral slither slide.
  • Twisted climber.
  • Branch out cargo net.
  • Playwood access gate.
  • Hopscotch climber.
  • Post bells.
  • Ribbon climber.
  • The helix.
  • Playweb lite.
  • Tri junction.
  • U-bounce.
  • Vortex.
  • Oval crater arch.
  • Branch out hammock.
  • Post wheel.
  • Steel curve climber.
  • Branch out trunk.
  • Branch out zig-zag.
  • Tower climber

2-5 PLAY UNIT:

  • Drum panel.
  • Texture panel.
  • Swirley panel.
  • Race panel.
  • Bee hive.
  • Bambino-A-Frame w/deck & double slide.
  • Basket sway.
  • Spin cups

SWINGS:

  • 4-belt swings.
  • 1 guardian & me swing.
  • 2 tot swings

>>> Renderings provided by City of Pflugerville, used with permission

Source : https://patch.com/texas/north-austin/pflugerville-readies-new-improved-pfluger-park-playground

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