It’s no longer safe to have four swings next to each other because kids might bump into each other. Spaces between parts on a slide could trap a finger. Jungle gyms are a fall waiting to happen. One slip and a merry-go-round will send a child reeling.
These are just some of the reasons why the village needs to replace practically all the playground equipment at the Village Beach, Seamon Park and the Lions Club Playground, according to a risk manager from New York Municipal Insurance Reciprocal (NYMIR), the village’s new insurance carrier.
NYMIR says the village needs to replace its old equipment with the latest in “kid-safe” technology, like the new playground at Cahill Elementary School.
George Terpening, supervisor of Parks, Buildings, and Grounds, admitted that much of the playground equipment is aging, but couldn’t understand why much of it was being called unsafe. He was told that if it was not taken down, NYMIR would not cover those playgrounds.
Terpening said that he was told that in the case of the swings, it was no longer safe to have four swings next to each other because kids might bump into each other; so two of the four swings have to go.
The metal slides, Terpening was told, had spaces between some of the parts where children could get their fingers caught, and as for the jungle gyms – well, kids could fall, and the platforms that spin in circles – kids could get thrown off and injured.
Additionally, all of the ground cover underneath the playground equipment needs to be removed as well, because the grass that’s there is unsafe as well. And, “No,” Terpening said, “we can’t replace it with just sand, because sand can compact, causing injury if a child falls.”
“It’s all nice stuff, but it costs money,” said Terpening; about $250,000, he said.
What needs to go:
- Seamon Park – two slides, the jungle gym, two swings and the monkey bars.
- Village Beach Park – the slide, jungle gym, swing sets and monkey bars.
- Lions Club Playground – two slides, chin-up bars, monkey bars, the jungle gym, wooden station and two merry-go-rounds.
“We told them it would all be gone by the spring,” Terpening said, “and they said fine.”
“But now we need to find and pay for equipment to replace it,” he added, “because hundreds of kids from the day camp at Cantine Field make use of the pool, which is okay to stay, and the playground, as do kids swimming at the village beach and up at Seamon Park.
Because there will be little money to spare in the coming year’s budget, Terpening said he’ll be turning to fundraising – local service groups in particular; the Lions Club for the pool playground and Kiwanis for the Seamon Park playground, for example.
“We’ll form a committee of residents and village officials to come up with a plan,” Terpening said.