Travers Park’s next phase of planning

By Rebecca Holland
Reader Contributor

Elections have consequences or, as some say, deliver results. After former-Mayor Carrie Logan and much of the fire department’s personnel went on record against City Administrator Stapleton’s tight controls, Sandpoint voters essentially voted her out of her six-figure job when Jeremy Grimm won the election for the city’s top executive position as mayor. 

Local residents know the grandiose makeover plans for Travers Park and the removal of the Travers family’s ashes were Stapleton’s doing, while the outgoing mayor and much of City Council generally acquiesced to her lead. Following the playground’s sudden destruction, several council members admitted their outreach to the community had been subpar. Not even an informational sign at the park had been erected before the fencing went up. 

In hindsight, as a lesson learned, they agreed to seek more public engagement in the future.

The city’s next phase of planning is now being teed up. At the Dec. 20, 2023 council meeting, city planners presented concept drawings for a $1 million playground and summer splash pad. On Wednesday, Jan. 4, planners say they’ll ask council to vote on acceptance of these plans. Meanwhile, residents have just two weeks to look online at what’s proposed. 

While many interesting ideas are being floated, several issues need to be addressed. Our community’s previous investment in play equipment, valued between $25,000-$30,000 is not incorporated into the plans, other than a set of swings and plastic hills. The large metal structure with ADA-access platform, three slides, monkey bars and large spinners was enjoyed by many active kids.

Second issue, locating play equipment close to the parking lot and next to two softball fields needs reconsideration. This is a real problem for parents of young children that councilors are aware of. Moving it all back farther to the north is the answer for avoiding any more confining chain-link fencing.

Sandpoint’s new mayor and two councilors asked the council not to pass anything further substantial in nature, until they take office Thursday, Jan. 4. Certainly, the time has come for being respectful of their new members and for recognizing the public deserve more than a brief survey tucked into a busy holiday season regarding Travers Park’s next big plans.

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