Safety issues lead city to remove play equipment

When warmer weather makes Hillsboro Memorial Park a more inviting place for kids to play, families familiar with the playground area will find the park...more spacious.

Two pieces of equipment?the wooden climbing and sliding apparatus installed years ago by local civic groups, and a cactus-like climbing apparatus?have been removed from the park for safety reasons.

The decision to remove them came following an inspection by Doug Sisk, the city?s recreation director, according to City Admini?strator Larry Paine. Sisk had received training in that area about a year ago.

Once Sisk discovered problems with the two pieces of equipment, Paine said, the city had little choice but to take them out.

?We knew that if we take it out, there?s nothing for the kids to play on,? he said. ?But if we leave it there and a kid falls off and breaks a leg or neck, that?s a (liability) problem.?

Paine said a plan is being developed to replenish the play area with new equipment.

?We?re in the process right now of finding some folks who will be part of a playground equipment selection and fundraising committee,? he said.

The first appointments could be made as early as the March 2 meeting of the city council, he said.

?The idea is that we?re going to replace a number of the pieces of equipment that are out there?some of the older things, and things that we have identified have some safety issues,? Paine said.

The job of the ad hoc committee will be to select the desired pieces of equipment and then spearhead the effort to raise the money needed to purchase them.

?The idea here is to protect the city (from legal liability), but it also gives this equipment committee some impetus: ?Here?s what?s going on, we?re losing this playground equipment; to replace it, we need some money.??

Paine said the city does have a fund, supported with liquor sales, that is dedicated to recreation.

?We will probably exhaust that, and will need quite a bit more,? he said.

The duration of the committee?s work depends on how much equipment it recommends for purchase, and how long it takes to raise the funds.

?This stuff is not cheap,? Paine said.

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