Floral Park officials have postponed renovations at the village’s popular Tiny Town children’s playground because both bids submitted for the project came in over budget.
Delaying the renovation meant the playground did not reopen with new features by Memorial Day, as village officials had planned. Mayor Dominick Longobardi noted the missed target date, but stressed that the bids were “way over budget.”
“It’s much more important to get the right price right now and not the excessive amounts that we received,” Longobardi said.
The village has budgeted $500,000 for the renovation. Hicksville-based Frank Suppa Landscaping submitted a $428,974 estimate, and Playsites Plus of Central Islip submitted one for $634,185. Those amounts cover a new artificial turf, installation of play equipment and landscaping services, but not the cost of the new play equipment.
Trustees voted unanimously at a May 15 board meeting to reject the bids. Longobardi said that the village will probably rebid the job at summer’s end and that he is unsure whether the process will include alterations to the original renovation plan.
Trustees said they hope rebidding will generate a lower price.
“Due to the current weather being spring, the bids came in higher because the contractors bidding are all busy now, so they’re willing to put in a higher number,” trustee Archie Cheng said.
Tiny Town, near the corner of Bergen Street and Fuller Avenue, is Floral Park’s only village-managed playground. The 13,000-square-foot space, last updated in 2000, has long been a go-to spot for parents to trade parenting secrets, villagers have said. Village officials said Tiny Town has needed repairs for a while, but they accelerated the process after removing a diseased 100-year-old willow tree in 2016 that provided shade.
The renovation calls for current equipment to be removed and the park to be divided into three parts: a play section each for children ages 5 to 12, ages 2 to 5, and infants 6 to 23 months. The upgraded park is also slated to have new slides, climbing features, a swing set, bridges and canopy shading provided by the playground equipment and patio umbrellas.
Deirdre Cunningham who lives on Clover Avenue and has three young daughters, said having to wait for the renovations to be complete is frustrating.
“I feel mostly bad for the people with really young children,” Cunningham said. “It is a vital and vibrant part of our community, so this is really a shame.”
Resident Maryanne Sylenko-Giraldo, who said she has taken her 4-year-old son and 6-year-old daughter to the playground in previous years, said the postponement means they will go to nearby Averill Boulevard Park this summer.
“Do I love that we’re postponing it? No,” she said. “I’m not happy with this, but I understand and I just won’t be there this summer.”
From the ground up
One of the biggest changes Floral Park wants to make to Tiny Town is the surface underfoot. The current surface is made of Fibar, a material that resembles mulch or wood chips. Village officials said the Fibar is becoming too expensive to maintain a new batch of the material must be purchased every three years. The Fibar replacement costs between $3,000 and $6,000.
The village wants to replace the Fibar with a 1 1/2-inch layer of synthetic turf atop a layer of polyethylene padding. Under the turf and padding would be a layer of gravel.