ST. GEORGE – Several bids for equipment for the All Abilities Park were approved by city officials Thursday night, including one for a miniature train that will include cars outfitted for disabled riders.
The city broke ground for the All Abilities Park, 1851 South Dixie Drive adjacent to the Tonaquint Nature Center in St. George, on Jan. 5, with the official groundbreaking ceremony held Jan. 15. Designed as a dinosaur-themed park, its overall design will cater to all children, regardless of ability.
“Many people have expressed they don’t even take their child to the parks if they have some disabilities because of the difficulties of having a child unable to experience all that the other children are experiencing,” Mayor Jon Pike said during the City Council meeting Thursday.
The City Council unanimously approved more than $560,000 in bids for the equipment for the All Abilities Park. This included the train at $365,150; a shade shelter/train depot structure at $114,179; and 10 specially-designed pieces of playground equipment at $87,954.
The specialized playground equipment and train will take several months to manufacture and deliver, City Manager Gary Esplin said, so ordering them now was important.
While the All Abilities Park is estimated to cost between $4-5 million, private parties are hoping to raise $1 million for the park. So far $200,000 has been raised, half of which was donated by the St. George Exchange Club. Esplin said he was confident that the cost of the train and associated items would be covered over the next four-to-five years through funds raised from the St. George Marathon and private contributions.
“We feel we can pay for it without ever using any funds from the general property taxes of the city,” Esplin said.
The city manager and other city officials were involved in a meeting a year ago in which the concept of the All Abilities Park was discussed with the public. People were asked what type of amenities they would like to see in the park, and the train was at the top of the list, Esplin said.
Councilman Jimmie Hughes said he wasn’t originally on board with getting the train, but after seeing the community support for it, he changed his mind.
“I see tremendous, tremendous buy-in from the community,” Hughes said. “I can’t wait to see it.”
Councilman Joe Bowcutt also expressed his support for the continued progress of the All Abilities Park.
“This is probably going to be one of the best things the city has done in years,” Bowcutt said.
The Council approved an $87,504 bid for period-style seating for the Electric Theater. City officials said the restoration of the Electrical Theater could be completed by May.
A lease expanding the Western Sky Warbird Museum at the St. George Municipal Airport was approved.
The council approved an increase in a High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area grant for the St. George Police Department, bringing the grant award up to $153,004. Money from the grant will be applied to the Washington County Drug Task Force, police vehicles, overtime pay, vehicles, and other items.
The nomination of Aaron D. Olsen as the new city treasurer was also approved by the City Council.
- City breaks ground on All Abilities Park; ‘an outpouring of love’; STGnews Videocast
- City approves $3 million bid for Electric Theater restoration
- ‘Wings & Wheels’ revisits the past with warbird classics; STGnews Photo Gallery
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