The City of Hastings invited local residents to participate in a community meeting to provide input for future playground improvements Jan. 30 at City Hall.

The Parks and Recreation Department was recently awarded a $105,000 outdoor recreation grant from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. The funds, along with matching funds set aside in the city budget, will be used to replace the playground equipment at Lions Park, 1043 Fifth St. W.

Chris Jenkins, parks and recreation director, said the parks department has not made any decisions just yet. First, they wanted to get ideas and opinions from local residents in order to get community input on the redevelopment.

Numerous options were printed out from manufacturer websites and displayed on tables in the community room at City Hall. There were nature inspired playsets, an obstacle course inspired playset, ones with exercise equipment and more. In addition to the ones laid out on the tables, there were manufacturer catalogs left on tables for even more options.

Jenkins said there are several elements to consider including: shade, combo swings, equipment for smaller children and older kids, climbing elements, big enclosed structures, and more.

One item in consideration for the redevelopment is a poured-in-place rubber base instead of chips. The rubber base would be more cost effective for the city over a 20-year period, Jenkins said. It would also be less maintenance for the parks department.

"As we look at all the comments, we will include as many elements as makes sense and allow the playground manufacturers to get creative with their proposals," Jenkins said.

There is still time for community members to share their thoughts and ideas revolving around the park. Jenkins said the community can contact him with any questions or ideas at