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Cost of kids play: $2.2 million
Playgrounds at Union West, Franciscan parks up next
The new playground equipment at Library Park gets a lot of use. - photo by HIME ROMERO

Child’s play isn’t cheap.

Manteca is into the 12th year of upgrading playground equipment at the city’s various parks that predate 1990.  Some playgrounds had fallen into disrepair due to extensive vandalism. Many no longer met new mandatory safety standards established in 2000 by the State of California and Consumer Product Safety Commission. And at least one - Quail Ridge Park on Mission Ridge Drive just two blocks east of Union Road - had its playground destroyed by an arson fire.

The price tag for the 25 parks targeted for upgrades back in 2000 was pegged at $4 million. That included making other park improvements in addition to the playground upgrades. After spending $2.2 million and completing just 10 playgrounds, the city in 2009 opted to concentrate almost exclusively on playgrounds to accelerate the process in response to concerns expressed by parents about older equipment still in place.

Since 2009 the city has replaced six playgrounds (Shasta, Baccilieri, Springtime, Quail Ridge, Sequoia and Giles). They are currently in the early stages of planning and gathering community input for replacing equipment at Union West and Franciscan. That will leave eight other parks in need of upgrades.

Manteca has $132,400 set aside in capital improvement funding for playground work.

“Once you complete all of those, you start all over again,” said Parks & Recreation Director Mark Hall. “It’s an ongoing process.”