City set to upgrade Cody Park playground with Newburn Funds

Patrick Martin of Longmont, Colorado, holds his 2-year-old daughter, Rose, atop the StoryLand playground apparatus on the east side of North Platte’s Cody Park during an August visit.

One of North Platte’s first park projects to be financed by the late John Newburn’s bequest 30 years ago will be updated with the help of the same source.

City Council members Tuesday agreed to spend up to $185,000 in Newburn Fund interest to replace the StoryLand playground equipment on the east side of Cody Park by next summer.

The kid-friendly but parent-accessible slides, pipes, ladders and swings were dedicated in 1989, two years after Newburn died at age 101 and left part of his estate to benefit North Platte’s parks and recreation facilities.

Similar playground equipment at other city parks were installed in the same time period, but parts to replace worn-out portions are no longer made, said Public Service Director Layne Groseth.

Proposals for StoryLand’s next incarnation are due from four firms in a couple of weeks, he said. City crews would remove the old equipment this winter and aim to open the new apparatus next summer.

Meanwhile, the city will cannibalize the old equipment for replacement parts to extend the lives of the other 1990s-vintage playgrounds until they can be replaced, Groseth said.

Some North Platte residents will be involved in installing the new Cody Park equipment through a $5,000 grant from the Mid-Nebraska Community Foundation, Executive Director Eric Seacrest said.

The Buffalo Bill Kiwanis Club has financed, installed and kept up various playgrounds around the city as a service project. Seacrest said the North Platte Parks, Recreation and Wellness Foundation is interested in enabling other park upgrades.

“There’s a lot of people who believe it’s time to start having better, safer playgrounds,” he told the council.

In other business, council members:

» Awarded a $15,895 contract to RDG Planning & Design of Omaha to oversee formal nomination of North Platte’s historic downtown for the National Register of Historic Places.

» Approved new collective bargaining agreements with the unions representing North Platte police officers, professional firefighters and other public employees.

» Agreed to buy a 2019 John Deere loader for $157,000 from Murphy Tractor Equipment Co. to use in the tree and yard waste area of the city’s transfer station. The cost reflects a $15,000 trade-in discount.

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