Since Hinkley Helpers officially launched in March, we have been researching how much it costs to build a community playground. We have connected with the project managers of neighboring playgrounds in Sherborn and Medway. We have met with various playground equipment vendors to survey the playground at Hinkley Park as well as learn more about playgrounds built by these vendors.
Based on conversations with multiple playground vendors and neighboring playground project managers, we estimate that it will cost between $300,00 and $500,000 to build a modern, ADA-compliant playground for children of all ages and abilities.
The goal of the Hinkley Helpers is to build a destination community playground that is fun, safe and inclusive. We aim to build a playground that costs $500,000 and plan to reach that goal through community donations, corporate sponsors, and grants.
What does 500,000 cover?
When the fundraising campaign nears completion, the project will go to bid via a formal request for proposal process conducted by the Town of Medfield’s Park & Recreation Department and in collaboration with Hinkley Helpers. Hinkley Helpers is exploring multiple vendors to better understand estimated costs and timelines, and from our research, we have learned that the following five areas require significant support:
- Demolition & Disposal: ~$10,000
- Excavation: ~$20,000
- ADA-Compliant & Inclusive Groundcover (6,000 sq ft): ~$125,000
- Playground Equipment & Delivery: ~$250,000
- Installation: ~$120,000
Costs can be scaled down through in-kind donations. For example, if the Medfield Department of Public Works (amongst other needs) donated its service to demolish and dispose of the equipment and excavate the grounds, the total monetary fundraising goal would be significantly reduced.
What could additional funds contribute to?
From our Hinkley Helpers Launch Survey Results, we learned respondents were interested in updating amenities like the bathrooms at Hinkley Park and erecting a fence specific to the playground area. While these two projects are not currently scoped in Hinkley Helpers’ plan for rebuilding the playground itself, if there are additional funds raised, they might be able to be contributed to these areas. Parks & Recreation has recently built a fence around the perimeter of the playground area and will be adding to that to prevent children from going beyond the fence line. The materials have been ordered, but there is not an ETA on installation given delays in the supply chain.
Additionally, many respondents voiced interest in a splash pad or pool, which would require significant additional funding in addition to water lines to support water features, which the park currently does not have. At this time, the focus is on improving the playground itself as a complimentary amenity to Hinkley Pond, which is naturally spring-fed, treated every two weeks at a minimum, and tested weekly during the summer. Results of these tests are posted both online (www.MedfieldRec.com) and at Hinkley Pond. Parks and Recreation, with assistance from the Department of Public Works, annually drains the water, cleans the bottom of the pond, and adds fresh sand annually to provide an environment for families and swimmers to enjoy during the dog days of summer.
What are comparable, local playgrounds?
From our research with playground equipment vendors, we have garnered comparables for playgrounds built within recent history. It is important to note, that within the past year, the cost of building materials has increased 20% and is not likely to return to pre-pandemic pricing.
- Rice Complex in Wrentham, MA built in 2020: $600,000*
- Rt 1A Playground in Walpole, MA built in 2022: $420,000
- Choate Park in Medway, MA built in 2018: $400,000*
- Carolyn Woodward in Walpole, MA built in 2022: $352,000
Hinkley Helpers is committed to building a playground that works for the community and working closely with the Town of Medfield, to ensure this initiative’s success.