New playground equipment could soon be heading to Briar Creek Park and be in place by Labor Day, according to Williamsburg Tourism Director Alvin Sharpe.
"We are going to upgrade the playground equipment at Briar Creek Park. It is something that has been needed for a long time. We are real excited and have some ideas about what we would like to put it in," Sharpe said.
"It is a good cooperative effort between the Williamsburg Tourism Commission and the City of Williamsburg. Of course, the Williamsburg Kiwanis Club is going to be involved with it too."
Williamsburg Kiwanis Club President Willie Adkins announced Thursday afternoon that the club plans to donate at least $5,000 towards the purchase of new playground equipment at the park.
"We are currently planning the Kiwanis Kruise for Kids and if we can have a really good turnout and really good fundraising through the Kiwanis Kruise then we are going to donate more than $5,000. We will donate as much as we possibly can to help them with the playground equipment," Adkins said.
He said the club is donating the money because of the age of much of the playground equipment at the park. Adkins, who is 28, can remember playing on it when he was kid.
"Everybody uses that park for everything from family reunions to people going there at lunch time with their kids," he said.
"We want the city to have more really nice, safe playgrounds for our children and hopefully, we can keep doing this years on down the road."
Sharpe said that the tourism commission advertised last week for requests for proposals and that four companies have responded.
Two years ago, the city installed new playground equipment at Williamsburg City Park, which Sharpe estimated cost about $30,000.
He said the proposals for Briar Creek Park would probably vary, but that he anticipates they will range from $60,000 to $70,000.
The city may install the equipment itself, which would save about 25 percent of the total project cost, he added. Concerns over warranty issues and insurance will have to be addressed first.
Sharpe said that city leaders will meet with playground equipment companies next Wednesday, and that the new equipment will take about four to six weeks to arrive once it is ordered.
Installation is only expected to take a few days, which means that the new equipment could be operating by Labor Day Weekend, Sharpe said.
"We’re excited about it," he added. "The current equipment is in pretty bad disrepair. It is time to upgrade it and make it where children can use it again."
Sharpe said that because of all the family reunions held at Briar Creek Park, playground equipment is needed that can accommodate 70 to 100 children at a given time.
"It will bring more people in to use our park. I just hope people take care of it," Sharpe added.
He said that much of the current equipment was purchased in the early 1990s from a company called Play Model out of Somerset.
He said some of the current equipment is still in pretty good shape, and city officials hope to refurbish some equipment and place at it at a park in the Cumberland Heights area of Highland Park.
The Seventh Annual Williamsburg Kiwanis Kruise for Kids, which will help pay for the new playground equipment at Briar Creek Park, will take place July 11.
"We just want everyone to come out and have the opportunity to ride with a group of local riders and share in the fellowship of Kiwanians and experience a good fundraising effort this year," said Kiwanis Kruise Co-chairman Dave Bergman.
Pre-registration entry fees are $15 for riders and $10 for passengers. The entry fee the day of the ride will be $20 for riders and $15 for passengers.
All proceeds from the event will go to benefit the Kiwanis Club of Williamsburg Playground Equipment Fund.
Bergman said that so far the club has 20 corporate sponsors and is hoping to expand that number before the event.
The biggest change this year is that Tri-County Cycles has taken over as the premier sponsor.
"They are our premier corporate sponsor this year, which is the biggest change in this year’s event from last year’s event," Bergman said. "We are excited to team up Tri-County. We are expecting good weather and a good ride."
In 2007, the Williamsburg Kiwanis Club donated $10,000 for new playground equipment at Williamsburg City Park.