City officials say new Baranof Park playground in the works

Some playground equipment from Baranof Park will be relocated to nearby East Addition Park as soon as next month, according to Kodiak’s Parks and Recreation Department. 

The playground at Baranof Park was removed earlier this month because of construction at the Baranof Park ice rink. (Kirsten Dobroth/KMXT)

The playground at Baranof Park was closed earlier this month and its equipment was removed because of ongoing heavy construction at the Baranof Park ice rink. Contractors have also been preparing an adjacent site for construction of the new firehouse between the park and Mill Bay Road. 

“Just the other day I had three excavators, two dump trucks – once they start doing excavation and foundation work for the fire station it’s probably going to be much more than that,” said Kodiak’s Parks and Recreation Director Corey Gronn. 

Some Kodiak residents voiced concerns over the playground’s closure at a City Council meeting last week, saying the city hadn’t provided information about when it would close, or plans for replacing it. Others vented their frustration in a popular community Facebook group.

The original playground at Baranof Park was installed in 2000. Gronn said several items that were removed from the playground – like the pirate ship – will be installed at East Addition Park by mid-May. 

The department is also requesting $350,000 from Kodiak’s City Council for the next fiscal year for a new playground at Baranof Park – although it will likely need to be relocated to a different area within the park.

“If that is approved, the plan is to try to replace all of the equipment and upgrade all of the equipment,” said Gronn.

Gronn said the goal is also to make the new playground wheelchair accessible with equipment both for toddlers and older children. 

He said the city is already in talks with Anchorage-based Corvus Design, a landscape architecture firm. The next step is to take any plans to the city’s Parks and Recreation Advisory Board and open the process for public comment – likely by next month or early summer, according to Gronn.

City officials said they hope to have a new playground installed at Baranof Park by spring of next year. 

Meantime, Gronn says he anticipates the overhaul of the Baranof Park ice rink to be complete by this fall – that project encompasses more than 4,000 square feet of new building, including new bathrooms and changing rooms, and enclosing the existing outdoor ice rink. 

The city has also secured $22 million for a new firehouse to replace the current one, which sits in the tsunami inundation zone and is literally crumbling in some areas

Construction crews have yet to break ground on that project.

 

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