A portion of Rainbow Park will be open this month, despite continuing construction work on the project. The town plans to rent six-foot construction fencing and enclose the playground and bathrooms, which will allow kids to play safely in the area.
Town manager Susan Parker emphasized that while safety is still a priority, the town staff is confident it can open the playground without endangering the kids. “We can continue to lay sod and even rebuild the pavilion with the safety fence around the playground,” she explained. “Once we open the playground, it should stay open.”
What was left of the Rainbow Park pavilion was taken from the site Monday, June 2. The building had collapsed under the heavy snowfall last winter and the park has officially been closed since.
Town finance director Lois Rozman explained to the Town Council at their regular meeting Monday, June 2 that the town and its insurance agency, CIRSA, are working with contractors to move ahead to replace the pavilion. Two bids have been received from contractors for its reconstruction.
But whichever contractor gets the bid to reconstruct the pavilion will build a steel structure, and the earliest steel could get to the site is six to eight weeks from now. “It will likely be August or September at the earliest before construction on the new pavilion even begins,” Rozman said.
Parker met with the Parks and Recreation Department crew Tuesday morning and came up with the fencing idea.
“The park is an incredible amenity and I am excited that getting it open for the summer is a priority for our town staff,” mayor Alan Bernholtz said Tuesday. “I look forward to when the whole park is complete and open to the public.”
During Monday night’s meeting, outgoing Park and Recreation director Bob Piccaro told the council that because of the heavy winter snowpack, work at the park is probably a month behind schedule. “We would love to get the playground open as soon as possible,” he said.
Councilmember Skip Berkshire suggested the town should perhaps put up a tent on the pavilion site after it is inspected for safety, but before major work begins. “Whoever is found ultimately liable should pay for it,” he said. “Ultimately, someone will cover the insurance claim and something like a tent could act as an intermediate solution.”
Rainbow Park is located on Eighth Street and Maroon and was initially opened to the public last October. The heavy snowfall this past winter literally ended up collapsing the newly constructed pavilion. The wreckage from the structure was finally removed from the site this week. In order to keep grant monies used in the Rainbow Park project, a new pavilion must be completed and operational by the end of the year.
Rozman emphasized that while CIRSA is taking over the insurance claim, the town is not at fault for the collapse of the pavilion last winter. “The snow load at the time of the collapse was less than 70 pounds per square foot and we ordered a building that could hold at least 100 pounds a square foot,” she said. “The snow load was not what it was supposed to be.” She said CIRSA is debating whether to go after the engineer who approved the plans for the 100 pound per square foot snow load or the manufacturer.
Bernholtz applauded the insurance company, saying that while the cost of insurance is going up, CIRSA has stepped up to the plate to cover the claim in a timely manner.
The town is shooting to get the fencing up and the playground open by June 14.