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Wooden play sets won’t return to beach; city seeks alternative

(April 19, 2013) Age, overuse, and the frequency of “unauthorized night-time activities,” have exacted their toll on the popular wooden play sets on the beach and they will not be returned to their location off the Boardwalk this season.

“They have simply reached the end of their useful life,” Councilman and Recreation and Parks Committee Chairman Joe Mitrecic told City Council member this week. “We are looking into what we could put out there in the near future.”

The decision came from a recommendation at last week’s Recreation and Parks Committee meeting by Public Works Director Hal Adkins, who relayed that his employees had concerns about the condition of the equipment, which is pulled out of storage every spring for refinishing and repair.

“They were never compliant with playground standards,” Adkins said, resulting in frequent loose nails and screws, as well as splintering wood.

“They’re also used for other activities, for which they weren’t intended, during the later evening and early morning hours,” Adkins said, resulting in additional cleaning needs.

According to city Risk Manager Eric Lagstrom, the wooden structures cause “frequent calls from the police department” to his office regarding injury and the town’s liability. Last year, Lagstrom recorded three serious injuries: one broken arm, one broken leg, and a facial injury, resulting from the play sets. No serious injuries were recorded at the city’s other playgrounds, he said.

“The question is if this equipment is used in a public park area, and if it doesn’t meet standards [then it exposes the town to liability],” Lagstrom said.

The five wooden toys have been donated over the past 20 years to the city by various Boardwalk business owners, some of whom Adkins had spoken with about the possibility of selling the equipment and putting the money towards other youth programs, or possibly new equipment.

“I don’t’ see any aggravation coming from the donors [if the city sold them], just from the historical users of the toys,” Adkins said.

Parks and Recreation Director Tom Shuster said he would like to see new equipment that is up to the level of what’s in place at the city’s playgrounds.

“From the outset, these didn’t meet the CPSC (Consumer Product Safety Commission) standards that I use,” Shuster said. “These were intended for residential use, not commercial.”

The commission recommended, and council later approved, the sale of the toys and the earmark of the proceeds to go toward new equipment.

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  1. Would like to know if and when you will be selling the wooden playsets that were on the beach, the monster truck is the one my grandsons like the most


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