Boat basin play area may improve

Published 8:18 am Tuesday, February 28, 2012

THE PLAYGROUND at the Earle May Boat Basin, originally built around 1975, may soon see a major renovation, with new play equipment and safe play surfaces. The Bainbridge City Council has submitted a pre-application for a grant from the National Parks Service.

The playground in the Earle May Boat Basin may be the next city playground to be upgraded, according to city officials.

At their Feb. 17 meeting, the Bainbridge City Council unanimously approved to submit a pre-application for funding from the National Parks Service’s Land and Water Conservation Fund.

The Land and Water Conservation program “provides matching grants to state and local governments for the acquistion and development of public outdoor recreation areas and facilities,” according to the fund program’s website at

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During the 1970s, both the existing Boat Basin playground and the old tennis courts at Cheney Griffin Park were built in part with funding from the National Parks Service, according to its records.

Because it’s a matching grant, Bainbridge would have to contribute an amount equal to 50 percent of the total  if it is awarded, through a mix of equipment purchases and in-kind assets such as labor, according to City Manager Chris Hobby.

The project, which has an estimated cost of about $200,000, would entail a complete replacement of the playground equipment with newer, safer equipment and creation of safe play surfaces, similar to what was done in the recent renovation of the College Street Park, Hobby said.

Just the new playground equipment at the College Street Park cost $97,000, with the total project coming in at almost $300,000 because a new parking lot and fully-enclosed shelter were built there, among other improvements.

The City of Bainbridge has already made some improvements to the area around the Boat Basin playground, which is located near the swimming area. There are new benches, covered shelters and cooking areas next to the playground. A couple of hundred feet away, a covered party pavilion, a large parking lot and new bathrooms were built as part of the new multi-lane boat ramp project.

The older bathrooms on the back side of the playground area will either be remodeled or reconstructed when the playground upgrade is done, Hobby said.

Later this year, the City of Bainbridge will begin work on a riverwalk, which will start at Cheney Griffin Park, go down Hatcher Road, turn into the Boat Basin and connect with the existing nature trails.