Saugerties playgrounds declared “unsafe”

The Lions Club playground (photo by Robert Ford)

The Lions Club playground (photo by Robert Ford)

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.

There are 19 comments

  1. Matt Gleason

    Decisions… $0.00 to keep existing toys or $250,000 to replace existing toys just because. I make a motion to spend $0.00 and immediately replace the insurance company.. Do I hear a second?

  2. CM Dempsey

    I don’t understand this culture of allowing insurance companies to dictate everything these days. The playground equipment that is currently in place has been fine for years. All of a sudden an insurance company wont cover playgrounds with “outdated” equipment? When did insurance companies become the dictators of safety and fun? This is absolutely ridiculous nonsense! Get another opinion from a different insurance company. Im sick to death of the fear of litigation that people accept and perpetuate in this country. Grow a spine and think for yourself. Stop letting insurance companies make all of the rules. Liberty and freedom are not compatible with the dictates of insurance companies and corporate rule.

  3. G Goodwin

    Unfortunately the insurance company is trying to reduce losses. It is the fault of a sue happy society and juries that give big settlements. Kids will have nothing to do outside soon. Next thing will be you can’t play baseball on town property because you might get hit with a ball.

  4. C Martin

    Put a sign up that says “use at your own risk”. Dump the insurance company and let the children be children. Some of my favorite memories and best life lessons learned were at these ” unsafe” playgrounds. We need to stop the insanity!

  5. Sharon

    The slides at Seamon’s Park are irreplaceable. I hope I get back to Saugerties for one last slide before they are taken down.

  6. Carol

    Since when is learning spacial concepts and physics ( like distance between swinging objects) and gravitational pulls, (like on the merry-go-round) something to protect children from? Really! Grass and sand unsafe? Would the insurance carrier suggest some off-gassing petroleum product that wont just give you a just knee scar for a day, but cancer for life? This world is getting more ridiculous all the time.

  7. Jim

    I think it terrible that we have to do what an insurance company tells us to do. You tell them you will pull the policy from them!
    Tell the town officials to get a set!!

  8. sandy ferrainola

    Yes it’s time to get with the 21st Century… with all the lawsuits in this crazy world no one can have a good time anymore

  9. TEX

    Nice. The parks are terrible here. I’ve often thought about replacing the sign on the highway that says “One of America’s coolest Villages” with “Home of the most dangerous parks in America”. We can raise money for new playgrounds and keep the tea bagged party metality out of it.

  10. Chris

    This is truly pathetic. There is no facepalm in the world epic enough to sufficiently convey the disgust that this story fills me with.

  11. Jennifer Burke

    Ridiculous!!!!!!!!! My daughter got second and third degree burns on the bottem of her feet jumping on an open grate at the beach playground 21 years ago and the town could have cared less, the moment I didn’t hire a lawyer. And now somewhere all of us have history at is going to fall prey to the “touchy-feelies”. I’m with the gentlemen who proposed bubble wrap!!!

  12. Saugerties Resident


    How about those salaries?

    How about this is the ONLY small child park in our town and village….?

    How about this is a GREAT embarrassment to our community that it is this run down…

    How about we get it DONE…administration of this village and town…like TODAY.

    Both shameful and pathetic when you take into account we have like 12 ball fields….

    I mean what the heck is going on here?

    Where are the tax dollars going besides inside of pockets?

    SHOW ME THE MONEY BOYS?! Cause we don’t see anywhere but in pockets! Yeah!

    Impeachment is not an outside idea is it people of Saugerties?

    Seems too many cocktail parties and pats on the back are happening, and no ACTION is being taken.

    Stop the photo ops and get busy and do your jobs for the people not yourselves.

    Enough already! Get your fannies in gear boys and get something done about this.

  13. Former Saugerties Child

    First, I will start off by saying that I am a “30-something” year old lifelong resident of Saugerties who grew up playing at SEamon’s park, at Lion’s playground and at the other playground up at Cantine Field that is now much different than I remember (it’s lame now).

    I was just researching the history of Seamon’s park because I took my little girls there today for a special adventure. Of all the parks and of all the memories, my best, most special memories are of Seamon’s park. memories of all the former “dangerous equipment, especially the biggest slide, memories of climbing a tree that used to have limbs that came down near the ground, which made it a breeze to clim (the limbs were cut down first before removing the dangerous equipment years ago).

    Memories of sneaking off into the woods to go on adventures with my friends (sort of like Huckfinn and Tom Sawyer I suppose) and getting lost… Memories of climbing the big “dangerous” hill and then proceeding to roll down it with friends. Memories of gathering broken chestnuts and pine cones. Memories of the creepy statue on the upper level — the “full moon” statue.

    Memories of peaceful picnics with my boys when they were little. Memories of the bullfrogs that used to live in the now dried up rock hole that used to be filled with water on the upper level, near the gazebo. And of course, memories of making manyyy wishes in what I conceived as a child, the wishing wells.

    There were many to choose from. Most of which are dried up now. Up at Cantine, the most fun was on all of the dangerous equipment. I can’t remember ONE time when myself or my childhood friends, got hurt on the swings, slides, or monkey bars…oh and can’t forget the merri-go-rounds. The best fun was when my father would have my little brother and I lay on the merri-go-round and then spin it as fast as he could. Or swinging as high as I could go and then jumping off…never once getting hurt.

    I was a natural born monkey as a child and adored the monkey bars as did my childhood friends. We loved doing flips on them and hanging out on top…never ONCE got hurt. I can’t imagine growing up as a child now with some of the boring equipment that exists today. And interestingly, if you want to talk “danger,” there is a brand new piece of equipment on the Lion’s playground that looks extremely dangerous.

    Not quite sure what it’s supposed to be, but that thing looks dangerous. What in the world is wrong with swings, slides, monkey bars, see saws and merri-go-rounds? What has this world come to? Sad… I felt truly sad today when I showed my daughters this special place that I grew up loving. Just about everything was gone.

    Swings were removed. Both slides have been removed. The see saw is removed. I can’t imagine Seamon’s Park with updated equipment. That will be a strange sight to see… The old playground equipment added to its specialness. I don’t see how solid metal equipment that hundreds of kids played on over the years has suddenly been deemed unsafe.

    And, LOL, at the bubble wrap comment!

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