Town readies for high tech playground

SWANSBORO — Playtime in the Town of Swansboro is going high-tech.

An electronic play system will be one of the features of a new playground designed to be a unique attraction as well as offer challenging fun for area youth.

The NEOS 360 offers a variety of games for solo or team players. It is fun and fitness combined as youth race to hit the blinking lights.

“It targets that interest (in video games) to some extent but gets them outside and active,” said Mary Donnelly, vice chairwoman of the Parks and Recreation board.

The games combine skills such as speed, agility, hand-eye coordination and stamina and make the high-tech fun healthy as well.

“It’s not only high-tech; it also has that exercise feature to it,” added Parks and Recreation board member Gene Cole.

Nearly 20 proposals from seven different playground suppliers were reviewed by the board, and the town’s Board of Commissioners approved the purchase of the $70,000 playground at its September workshop meeting.

While the electronic play system is expected to be a popular feature, the playground will have more than two dozen play features planned. But gone are the days of the merry-go-round and monkey bars.

The playground will include a 19-foot-high web climber, vortex spinners, rock climbing walls, and “sky surfer” standing swings, a twist on surfing and skateboarding fun.

While playgrounds often meet the needs of younger children, the goal for the town’s latest playground was something for children ages 8 to 12.

“It will be something new, something challenging for the older kids,” Donnelly said.

The hope is that the originality and uniqueness of the park will attract families from the surrounding area as well as local residents.

“We wanted something other than the run-of-the-mill, and we were looking for it to be a destination for families,” she added.

The playground is part of major improvements planned for Municipal Park with the assistance of a $500,000 grant from the N.C. Parks and Recreation Trust Fund.

The installation of the playground, to be supplied by Playworld Preferred, is expected to be completed by the end of November, the release said.

Other planned improvements at Municipal Park include a paved exercise trail, a skateboard area, a new concession and restroom building and a recreation center.