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City Council OKs Pricey McKinley Park Playground Project

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) - McKinley Park's play structure arson may have been the initial shock, but now it's sticker shock on the price to rebuild.

Even the mayor says the nearly $700,000 price tag is steep to rebuild McKinley Park's play structure.

"The number does seem a little high," Kevin Johnson admitted Tuesday morning. The City Council voted Tuesday night in favor of the project.

Of the roughly $690,000 budget approved Tuesday, $260,000 would come from city funds, $100,000 from donations and insurance would pick up more than $320,000 to rebuild the playground an arsonist destroyed in July.

Councilman Steve Cohn, whose district includes the park, said he hopes the actual cost comes down.

"Well, first of all that's our budget but we're hoping the contract will actually be closer to half a million," he said.

Landscaping, lighting upgrades and sign replacements at other parks will be delayed with so much of the park budget going to McKinley's rebuild, but parks manager J.P. Tindell said the park gets a lot of use.

"Some things might not happen as they would have otherwise, but on the other hand this is one of the most used and most visited parks on the entire city park system," she said. "It's always unfortunate when something like a fire occurs."

The cost to build the wood playground was $148,000 in 1994. Now it will be five times the cost in 2013.

The replacement includes more durable materials, including composite instead of wood, and designs to limit litigation.

"You'll spend easily that much and more on a lawsuit if you don't build it correctly," Cohn said.

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