01/16/05 — Herman Park gets new playground equipment

View Archive

Herman Park gets new playground equipment

By Barbara Arntsen
Published in News on January 16, 2005 2:09 AM

By the end of February, the city will have completed its efforts to refurbish or replace the Herman Park playground equipment.

A gust of wind whips the yellow and black police tape that surrounds the playground, but no crime has been committed in the area, unless removal of the old monkey bars is considered a criminal offense.

Neil Bartlett, director for the city's parks and recreation department, said that a lot of people had fond memories of playing on the monkey bars.

Bartlett said he wasn't sure how old the monkey bars were, but said they had been around for decades.

"I'm 49 and I remember playing on them when I was a kid," he said. "But they aren't safe anymore."

The Consumer Products Safety Commission conducted a playground study from 1990 to 2000.

In 1999, according to the study, there were an estimated 46,930 children under the age 15 who went to U.S. hospital emergency rooms with injuries related to playground equipment.

Those statistics prompted the Commission to issue tighter safety guidelines for playground equipment, and the city has been working to bring its equipment within the standards.

Last year, the city installed $119,000 of new playground equipment at Fairview and Mina Weil parks. This year it was Herman Park's turn at getting new equipment.

"Swings over a certain height don't meet the guidelines," explained Bartlett. "So we're lowering the swings, so they are structurally safe."

But the monkey bars won't be back. Instead the park will have a variety of slides, decks, and ladders.

In addition, plastic timbers will surround the sand-filled playground. Sand is being used to cushion any falls, which the guidelines say are the most frequent causes of injuries on playgrounds.

Bartlett said that the park also added two new swing sets for toddlers.

Herman Park is located on Park Avenue between Jackson and Herman streets. About 28 acres in size, the park has 10 lighted tennis courts, a large picnic area which includes three lighted picnic shelters, grills, the Kiwanis Club miniature train, a gazebo, park house and restrooms.