Highland Village will soon move forward with first phase of Kids Kastle construction

Before stay-at-home orders were issued by state and local governments in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, the city of Highland Village prepared the Kids Kastle construction site for a series of community build days. (Brian Pardue/Community Impact Newspaper)
Before stay-at-home orders were issued by state and local governments in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, the city of Highland Village prepared the Kids Kastle construction site for a series of community build days. (Brian Pardue/Community Impact Newspaper)

Before stay-at-home orders were issued by state and local governments in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, the city of Highland Village prepared the Kids Kastle construction site for a series of community build days. (Brian Pardue/Community Impact Newspaper)

Highland Village will move forward with the first construction phase of Kids Kastle using city staff and contractors May 18-21, leaving the community build phase of the project for this fall.

Phil Lozano, Highland Village’s parks and recreation director, said at a May 12 City Council meeting that the first phase of construction will involve the installment of some of the playground equipment, swings and more. The construction will be done by 24 city staffers and 10 contractors.

Kids Kastle, Highland Village’s 25-year-old, community-designed and -built playground in Unity Park, was originally scheduled to be reconstructed by community volunteers from March 23-26 and March 31-April 5. However, due to the coronavirus, the playground’s construction is now happening on a modified schedule. It was originally slated to be fully completed by June 6.

“All individuals working in the construction zone will be provided with personal protective equipment, including mask gloves, eye protection, etc.,” Lozano said. “Also, each morning before the start of the build, the fire department ... will perform individual temperature readings and maintain a log. If anyone has a temperature, they will be sent home.”

Lozano said the city also plans to install eight hand sanitizing stations on the construction site.

A date has not yet been set for the community build portion of the project. Lozano said it will be dependent on any limitations created by the coronavirus as well as the availability of Play by Design, the consulting firm the city has hired to help with the build.

“We're hoping that this happens before school starts and that we're able to get the community out here [by then],” Lozano said.

Prior to the delays, 953 Highland Village residents had volunteered to participate in the community build. The city was aiming to get a total of 2,330 volunteers. Lozano said up until the delays, the rate of volunteer signups was quickly picking up pace.

City Manager Michael Leavitt said staff is working to find out how much money the city lost when it had to cancel the rental of construction equipment and any other costs incurred due to the delay of the build.

Leavitt said he plans to assemble that information and include it in a letter to Sen. Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, to see if there is any opportunity for the city to receive aid through any coronavirus relief funds for the dollars lost due to delays caused by the virus.

“COVID has affected the Kids Kastle build more than anything else, from a financial aspect,” Leavitt said. “So I will be crafting a letter to ... find out and at least start that dialogue and provide the documentation.”
By Anna Herod
Anna Herod covers local government, education, business and the environment as the editor of Community Impact Newspaper's Lewisville/Flower Mound/Highland Village edition. In the past, Anna served as the reporter for Community Impact's San Marcos/Buda/Kyle paper. Her bylines have appeared in the Austin American-Statesman, Hays Free Press and The Burleson Star. She is a graduate of Texas State University's School of Journalism and Mass Communication.


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