East Side children will have new playground equipment later this year. About three weeks ago someone vandalized the equipment at Rogers Park, located at 3151 E. ‘L’ St.
Nancy Johnson, a spokesperson for Metro Parks, said the equipment had been installed in the late 1970s or early 1980s. It had four anchor pillars and reinforced metal tubing through the middle of it. A vandal apparently pounded something into the tubing, causing severe damage to two support posts.
During its Aug. 8 meeting, Metro Parks Commission took action to authorize funding for the replacement equipment.
Johnson explained that Metro Parks’ strategic plan calls for a park within three-fourths of a mile from all homes in the district. A bond measure passed by voters in 2005 did not include funding for Rogers Park because it is next to Rogers Elementary School, which had a playground. The school has since closed.
Numerous projects from the bond have been completed. Johnson said it is common to have a small amount of contingency funds left over from these. This money is placed into a fund of unallocated money. She said the board’s action was needed for staff to use this money for the replacement equipment.
She said the allocation will include money to ensure the new equipment is compliant with the federal Americans with Disabilities Act. The equipment and location will be reviewed by a Metro Parks employee to determine what this cost will be. The total cost of the gear and any needed improvements in the part to comply with the law will be no more than $25,000, according to Johnson.
Johnson said a timeline for when the equipment will be ready for use has not been determined. She said staff understands the desire of neighborhood residents to have it ready soon. “We will move quickly,” she said.
She noted when new equipment at Alling Park was damaged by an arsonist several years ago, it took from six to eight weeks to replace it. “People should expect a couple of months for the process to be completed,” she remarked.