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Proposed playground equipment for Botanical Conservatory showcase later would reappear in Fort Wayne’s Johnny Appleseed Park

This is a front view of the fairy tale-themed playground equipment the Fort Wayne Parks and Recreation Department hopes to first have installed in the Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory's "Fairy Tales" exhibit Jan. 13-April 8, and then have it removed and installed in Johnny Appleseed Park. (Courtesy illustration)
The proposed new playground equipment includes a small tunnel and two-lane slide. (Courtesy illustration)
Along with the fairy tale-themed playground equipment, children also can climb on a giant frog. (Courtesy illustration)

Johnny Appleseed Park could get a new playground next spring. But kids likely will have a chance to try it out this winter as part of a showcase exhibit at Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory.

The Fort Wayne Parks and Recreation Department will ask its board of park commissioners to approve a contract Wednesday for $96,304 with playground equipment-seller Sinclair Recreation, said Steve Schuhmacher, parks department superintendent of grounds and improvements.

The contract includes Sinclair installing the playground equipment in the showcase exhibit at the Botanical Conservatory in early January, removing it in April and then installing it in Johnny Appleseed Park, Schuhmacher said.

The park board will discuss that contract and other matters during its meeting at 10 a.m. Wednesday in Room 30 at Citizens Square, 200 E. Berry St.

The new playground equipment made by GameTime is constructed of steel and is designed with the look of a fairy-tale castle, Schuhmacher said. Features include two climbing towers, a short tunnel, a two-lane slide and a large frog on which children can climb.

It will be part of the “Fairy Tales” winter garden exhibit Jan. 13-April 8 at the Botanical Conservatory, 1100 S. Calhoun St.

Based on classic fairy tales, the exhibit will allow visitors to “pretend to be Jack on a bean stalk, look for Rapunzel in the castle tower, trip-trap over the troll’s bridge or take goodies to Grandma’s house,” exhibit information said.

After the exhibit ends, Sinclair Recreation will take down the playground equipment and re-install it at Johnny Appleseed Park north of the dog park, Schuhmacher said.

The playground will stand in the area where a U.S. Army Vietnam War-era M41 Walker Bulldog tank was displayed until it was moved in fall 2013 to the veterans area in Riverview Cemetery, 11425 Carroll Road.

The parks department chose to put the new playground there because the current playground area often floods, Schuhmacher said. The current playground equipment, which is located in a low area along the river, will be removed.

This is the second or third time the parks department has used play equipment in a Botanical Conservatory showcase exhibit and then re-installed it afterward in a city park, Schuhmacher said. The department hadn’t done so in the past, he added, but staff since have found the practice makes for good use of the play equipment.

PARK BOARD MEETING

WHAT: Fort Wayne Parks and Recreation Department’s board of park commissioners will hold their monthly meeting. The meeting is open to the public.

WHEN: 10 a.m. Wednesday

WHERE: Room 30, Citizens Square, 200 E. Berry St.

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