By: Jodelle Greiner, The Brookings Register

BROOKINGS – Something’s missing at Pioneer and Southside parks. The old playground equipment, except one swingset at Pioneer Park, was removed a few weeks ago.

Next, dirt and concrete work will be done to prepare the ground for new playground sets; installation should start by the end of the month, weather permitting, said Dan Brettschneider, director of Brookings Parks, Recreation and Forestry department.

“We hope to have the playgrounds wrapped up at the tail end of October. Granted, that doesn’t give you too much time before the weather – cross our fingers – before the weather comes in, but it’s a good time to do the projects without interfering with the spring time and summer activities that take place at those parks,” Brettschneider said.

Both parks are well-used, he added.

“Southside’s primarily a neighborhood park with a heavily utilized softball field, so you’ll have the neighborhood kids that will use the park and you’ll also have the softball teams that come in for games and practices and things like that, they have children that will use the playground equipment, so that’s nice. And Pioneer Park is a community park and it’s nice to have a fresh look at the playground system. It’s heavily used,” he said.


The Brookings City Council approved the new equipment during its June 12 meeting.

The system set up at Southside will be for kids ages 2-12 years. Two systems will be set up at Pioneer Park; the smaller system will be for kids 2-5 years old and the larger set for kids 5-12 years old. Brettschneider expects the new equipment to be more concentrated instead of being spread out, but the parks will have about the same amount of equipment as the old systems had.

“So, at both sites, we’re covering our bases from (ages) 2-12,” Brettschneider said.

The total cost for both parks is $250,000; about $100,000 of that will be for the equipment and the remaining $150,000 will cover “the dirt work, the concrete work, and the physical installation of the system,” Brettschneider said. “You’ll have to do some dirt work with the sub-base and have some concrete pad that the playground equipment will go on and the tiles will go on.”

Time for new stuff

It was time to get new equipment, Brettschneider said, due to the age of the equipment. He wasn’t even sure when the old equipment was installed.

“It’s been a long time,” Brettschneider said.

Back when the old equipment was installed, safety standards were not as strict and requirements for the Americans with Disabilities Act were different, too, he said.

“Playground manufacturers have a very regimented safety code for the actual playground piece of equipment themselves,” he said. 

Safety first

“The other aspect is the surfacing. We’ll have a rubberized tile surface for these two playgrounds,” Brettschneider said.

The interlocking tiles are made of recycled rubber product and “there’s a cushion to it,” Brettschneider said.

“It’s manufactured so if (someone) were to fall from a certain height on the playground, there’s give to it; gives ‘em a safety component,” he said, adding it will be much better than falling on hard, compacted dirt.

The upkeep will be easier, too. Fixing a problem with the surface of choice from just a few years ago – poured-in-place – was a lot more complicated.

“The benefits of the tile system is that in the future, if we need to replace a worn tile or anything like that, it’s just a matter of replacing a 2-by-2 rubber tile square, versus potentially having to replace a whole larger section of a pour-in-place surface,” Brettschneider said.

The tiles come in a variety of colors and can be laid out in different configurations, but Brettschneider doesn’t expect Brookings’ will be that fancy.

“Ours will be primarily one color with some interspersed different colors,” he said, adding the color they get “may change based on availability and pricing.”

The color won’t influence how much heat the tiles absorb from the sun, though.

“There’s not much difference in if it’s a black tile or a colored tile. The difference when the sun beats down on them and heating up is very minimal, if anything at all,” Brettschneider said.

Contact Jodelle Greiner at

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