The metal playground equipment incorporated ramps to accommodate wheelchairs and walkers, but time and exposure to the elements have taken their toll on the play structures.
The Civitan Club is now in the beginning stages of a fundraising campaign to raise the nearly $224,000 needed to replace the old equipment.
Cleveland Civitan member David Cummings told Cleveland City Council members Monday the slides, swings, ramps and bars are still heavily used by the elementary school during recess as well as other times when parents take their children to the park to play.
“The decking is showing rust and deterioration,” Cummings said. “The city has replaced some of the steel decking with timbers, but s broken parts are no longer available.”
He asked Council members’ approval to support the upgrades through in-kind services provided mostly by Public Works Department labor and equipment for site preparation, paving and concrete work.
Cummings said the park met accessibility standards set by the Americans with Disabilities Act when the park was built, but the law has changed.
A playground committee of five Civitan Club members, Cleveland Parks and Recreation Director Patti Petitt and George R. Stuart Elementary School Principal Randall Stephens concluded the playground equipment needed to be replaced and other site improvements were necessary.
Cummings said the new playground would be of universal design in consideration of all children, parents and grandparents and the very young. The target ages are 2 to 5 years and six to 12 years of age.
The new design would incorporate ramps wide enough for two wheelchairs or walkers, transfer points from wheelchairs to slides. The wood chips would be replaced with a bonded rubber surface.