Warm weather allows work to resume at Constitution Park

David Peck
The recent spate of warmer weather has allowed work to continue on the Constitution Park project in Lovell, with the splash pad and new playground equipment likely ready to go

by May.

General contractor Pete Baxendale, owner and operator of Midway Construction and Dirt Work, said work on the park resumed last Friday, April 7,
after significant progress was made last fall until cold weather struck in November.

Midway essentially completed the splash pad last fall including all of the plumbing and concrete work, plus installation of the valves and control center and the splash pad components. All that was left to do was turning on the water to test the splash pad features, but cold weather struck about the time the project reached that stage.

“We’re just waiting to make sure there’s no more freezing at night,” Baxendale said. “We’re hoping that next week is when I can test the features.”

Meanwhile, the Town of Lovell crew is preparing the site work, landscaping the area around the splash pad.

“They’re going to do the dirt work/landscaping and the hydro-seeding,” Baxendale said. “An irrigation company has to finish some sprinklers.”

New playground

Coinciding with the splash pad project has been the installation of new playground equipment, which is being performed by Playco Park Builders of Lakewood, Colorado.

Midway completed the prep work last fall, pouring about three-fourths of the sidewalks but leaving access for equipment to bring in the playground structures, Baxendale said. Midway also did landscaping work to get the playground area up to grade, he said.

The actual playground equipment itself was delayed due to COVID-19-related supply chain issues, with the equipment coming out of Europe.

“It finally arrived in early November, and by that time we were getting freezing temperatures,” Baxendale said, adding that the equipment was stored at the park for the winter.

“We were supposed to be done in October, but we just couldn’t get anything (delivered),” he added.

Instead of the traditional plastic playground components, the Constitution Park equipment is mostly made of wood – a series of wooden structures built around a large ship, what Baxendale called the focal point of the playground.

“Playco does around 100 playgrounds a year, and about 25 percent are special wood playgrounds,” he said. “This one kind of goes with the splash pad, like a shipwreck. The wood is long-lasting and has a 20-year life. It won’t fade like plastic and is low maintenance. With wear and tear or if it gets graffiti, it can be sanded back to its original state.”

In recent days, Midway has been working side-by-side with Playco preparing and pouring more sidewalks and will be installing the rubber mulch, which offers better fall protection than wood chips, he said.

“The blue material gives the park a vibrance and goes along with the nautical theme,” Baxendale added.

The town crew will perform the landscaping work around the new playground area, including new grass. Lovell Town Administrator Jed Nebel said the crew has been doing sub-excavation, both rough and fine grade work, along with providing backfill for new grass, which will be planted using a hydro-seeder. He said Kelton Wagner has done a great job sourcing quality topsoil, and Pawnee Irrigation is putting in the final sprinkler system components.

If all goes according to plan, the park should be fully up and ready to go by the first week in May, Baxendale said, adding, “Weather may dictate that a little bit. We’re waiting to get past one more cold front.” Nebel warned, though, that park lawn areas will be off limits for a few weeks in order to allow newly planted grass to sprout and flourish.

Baxendale said the splash pad and playground, combined with the state-of-the-art skate park installed last fall, will be a draw for Lovell.

“A family can come, and a variety of ages can play at the same time,” he said. “There’s something there for everybody. It’ll be a great family atmosphere.

“It’s hard to see the whale (wading) pool go, but this will be a better all-around environment for the family.”

And when the project is totally completed, the facilities will be “unlike anything in this area,” Baxendale said.