ST. GEORGE — With around 20% of the city’s parks sporting playground equipment over 20 years old, this year will see eight of those parks get new equipment starting with Mathis Park off Dixie Drive.

Blue sky overhangs aging playground equipment at Mathis Park in St. George, Utah, Jan. 4, 2024 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

The St. George City Council approved the $287,100 purchase of new playground equipment for Mathis Park during a council meeting last week.

The current playground equipment is 30 years old and the company the city brought it from has stopped making replacement parts.

“Without being able to make the proper repairs the playground is becoming a safety hazard,” according to a summary of the purchase order supplied to the City Council for review.

The new playground will occupy the same footprint as the original with some additional features expanding the site by 1,500 square feet.

According to the summary, parts of the existing shade structure over the playground will remain, though two of the shade poles will be removed to provide room for the new playground.

The playground’s surfacing, which is currently wood chips, will be replaced with artificial turf. This will make the playground more accessible and bring it into better compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

According to, while wood chip surfacing is considered ADA-compliant, as it provides a cushion to soften impacts from falls, it inhibits some accessibility as it can pose a challenge for individuals who use walkers and wheelchairs.

This image shows a rendering of the new playground equipment to replace the aging structures at Mathis Park in St. George, Utah | Rendering courtesy of the city of St. George, St. George News

Once installed, the largest piece of playground equipment will be set under the shade structure. Nearby will be a small play structure and round swing. A small slide will be built on an incline near the main structure.

“I think it’ll be a lot of fun,” Shane Moore, the city’s leisure services director, said while speaking with St. George News about the park and others in line to get new equipment. “Mathis Park is one of our most popular parks. It’s got great trees and a great walking path.”

Area residents who frequent Mathis Park can expect to see the new playground equipment show up between mid-January and early February, Moore said.

Funding for the replacement equipment comes from the RAP tax funds, according to city documents.

The next park to receive a new playground is Royal Oaks Park on 1400 West. The replacement equipment should appear sometime in March with six other parks to follow in the coming year.

Funding for those projects is made possible through the new general obligation bond for parks, trails and recreation that voters passed last year.

“This year, with the passing of the GO bond, we’re going to see six playgrounds – in addition to those two that we’re fixing right now – get replaced,” Moore said.

Other parks to see new playgrounds that Moore mentioned were Boots Cox Family Park, Sycamore Tree Park, Middleton Park, Christensen Park and The Canyons Park.

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