(Scott Welton, Staff)
Following the staff recommendation based on a vote by a second grade class, Sikeston City Council members accepted a bid of $19,259 for Miracle brand playground equipment from Hutchinson and Associates during their regular meeting Monday.
The playground equipment, which consists of a play structure and a six-seat swingset, is for R.S. Matthews Park which currently doesn't have any playground equipment.
Bids, which included 13 proposals from six vendors, were opened Oct. 15 and reviewed by the Park Board on Oct. 21.
A review committee narrowed the proposals down to two after which the Park Board members decided to "leave it up to the experts," according to Jiggs Moore, parks supervisor.
The two options were presented to Lauren Deane's second grade class at Matthews Elementary for a vote by the students.
"Matthew Elementary is just down the street from where the park is -- some of the kids who live in that neighborhood go to that school," Moore said. "I went to the class and did a presentation, showed them the drawings of the two finalists that the staff and Park Board had narrowed it down to. We passed out ballots, they voted on it, and the one we are recommending is the one they liked the best."
"The kids were very excited," Deane said. "They had a hard time deciding because they were both really good choices."
Alexis Wilkinson, 7, voted for option A. "It had like really a cool slide," she said.
In the end, option B came out the winner, however.
"It was a very close vote," Deane said.
Alexis said while her choice didn't win, she will still be happy with option B. "It had like a big thing to climb on and it also had really cool slides and stuff," she said.
The equipment will be placed on the south side of the park's pond near the picnic area, according to Moore. "We hope to have it installed by the first of May," he said.
According to city staff, the city's park division has done considerable business with Roger Hutchinson and is pleased with previous purchases of Miracle playground equipment which is manufactured in Monett.
In other business during Monday's meeting:
* Council members awarded $5,000 in Domestic Violence Shelter Surcharge funding to the only eligible applicant, the House of Refuge.
Money for the fund, which is awarded annually, comes from a $2 surcharge added to court costs on all of the city's municipal court convictions since 2003, according to Linda Lowes, director of governmental services for the city. The funds will be paid to the domestic shelter in monthly increments.
The House of Refuge received $4,500 from the fund in 2008. City Clerk Carroll Couch projected the court will collect $5,200 for the fund this year.
The Domestic Violence Shelter Surcharge funds will be 2.4 percent of the House of Refuge's annual funding, Lowes said. Approximately 90 percent of the domestic shelter's $205,968 in annual funding comes from federal and state grants.
From January to September, the House of Refuge reportedly provided services to 82 women and children, according to Lowes.
Services include crisis intervention, emergency expartes, protection orders, transportation, referrals, pregnancy services, disabled services, drug/alcohol services, mental health services, crisis calls and court services.
* The city's CodeRED Emergency Notification System is "ready to be utilized by the community," said Sikeston Department of Public Safety Director Drew Juden. "It's online now."
The ultra high-speed telephone communication system is able to alert the entire community in 3-5 minutes, Juden said.
He recommended that all city residents should register by following a link at the city's Web site, www.sikeston.org, to make sure they are in the system even if their primary phone is a listed land line.
In the event of a tornado, the city's sirens will also still be used, Juden said, but they are really only for residents who are outside.
"Those sirens are not designed to alert people in their homes," he said.