A chance opportunity of bargain shopping by one city official and a lengthy road trip by two others has led to some new playground equipment for the City of Memphis.
For several years the city has been seeking to add playground equipment at the Lake Show-Me campgrounds. Unfortunately cost estimates in the $30,000 – $40,000 far exceeded the city budget of 415,000 for the purchase.
Recently Alderman Lucas Remley identified a potential fit. He located used playground equipment on E-Bay, an on-line auction service.
After further review, it was learned that a school district in Texas had listed two sets of equipment for sale.
Mayor William Reckenberg began investigating the listing and learned that the equipment was only two years old, but had been installed at an older campus, that was now being closed and replaced.
After the initial listing had a price drop to $13,000, the council agreed to move forward with the purchase.
Reckenberg used vacation days from his work and accompanied City Superintendent Roy Monroe to Lewisville, TX to inspect the equipment. Once it was determined to be in excellent condition, the purchase was approved and the two travelers returned to Memphis with the disassembled playground sets.
One set of playground equipment, which is built for children ages five and up, will be installed at the Lake Show-Me.
Alderman Remley suggested the other set of equipment, which is for children below age five, be installed at Johnson Park to upgrade the existing playground.
Factoring in the travel costs to retrieve the equipment, Reckenberg estimated that the city spent roughly $14,200, or $7,100 per set of equipment, a significant savings from the estimate $30,000 price tag for just one playground set.
“Simply said, I feel like we got a Hell of a bargain,” he stated. “I’ve been working for some time to try to get playground equipment out at the campgrounds, and thanks to Alderman Lucas’s find, and a little extra time on the part of Roy and I, we have finally been able to do it at a greatly reduced cost.”