Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX

Local News

June 19, 2013

City dismantles nostalgic area playground citing various safety hazards

JACKSONVILLE — Memorabilia to some, dangerous hazards to others.

But what the City of Jacksonville and some concerned residents can agree on is that something needed to be done to the decrepit playground equipment in Buckner Family Park.

Aurora Johnson was at the playground Tuesday at lunchtime with her three children in tow. The family was heading to swim at the Summers A. Norman Aquatic Center when the area resident (she said she lives "just outside" of city limits) walked her kids across the street to show them her old stomping grounds. What she found were holes full of loose dirt.

In recent days, the City of Jacksonville Public Works Department has removed a metal tee pee playhouse, a train climbing apparatus and a four-way 'teeter totter' with animal features.

The metal playground equipment, which City Manager Mo Raissi said was approximately 25 years old, was deemed to be a  "hazard" to area children.

"We inspected the equipment and it was found to be in a state of disrepair," said Public Works Director Will Cole. "We didn't think we could repair it with any success."

The metal on the equipment was thinning, Cole said, as well as broken, bent and jagged in some places.

Typically, if city property has value to it, it's put up for sale in public auction, Raissi said.

There was no salvageable value to the Buckner Family Park playground equipment, both city officials said.

Johnson said the artifacts were "memorabilia."

"They could have put them somewhere," she said.

The City follows guidelines set forth by the National Program for Playground Safety, (in addition to the Playground Safety Institute), as to playground maintenance, inspection and safety.

Section 3.4 of the Handbook for Public Playground Safety addresses sharp points, corners and edges and states, in part, "Sharp points, corners, or edges on any part of the playground or playground equipment may cut or puncture a child’s skin. Sharp edges can cause serious lacerations if protective measures are not taken. To avoid the risk of injury from sharp points, corners and edges:

• Exposed open ends of all tubing not resting on the ground

or otherwise covered should be covered by caps or plugs that cannot be removed without the use of tools.

• Wood parts should be smooth and free from splinters.

• All corners, metal and wood, should be rounded.

• All metal edges should be rolled or have rounded capping."

By all accounts, those of residents and city officials, the nostalgic playground equipment fell short of many of these safety standards.

Cole said that while the playground is inspected about once a week and seen by City employees who are mowing and maintaining grounds more often then that, the extent of the problems at the Buckner playground was brought to his attention last week.

"Once it's specifically brought to our attention, we have to address it," he said.

Two years ago, the City installed a safer playscape on the south end of the park. Five years ago, the City removed unsafe playground equipment in Lincoln Park and replaced it with fixtures up to safety standards.

"My kids even used all the play things there," Raissi said. "They said, 'Don't take it out, don't take it out.' But safety has to come first."

Text Only
Local News
  • Christian Rapper 0419.tif Local rap artist spreads the 411 on Jesus

    "I have seen things in my life that would make Dr. Phil crazy," Jacksonville native, ordained minister and aspiring rap artist Stephen I. Crow Jr. said with a laugh. "That's why I don't label my music specifically as "Christian rap" -- yes, Christians who love rap can listen and hopefully be uplifted, but I truly want and am trying to bring the word and Jesus' message to people who may never have heard it or don't believe it's for them.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Tomato Bowl flushed to bottom of priorities

    The historic Tomato Bowl, built in 1940, stands strong on the outside, but according to some people the inside needs a lot of work in order to not be an eyesore.

    April 19, 2014

  • Cherokee County arrest: April 8-14

    The Daily Progress will publish a list of arrests from the Cherokee County Sheriff's Office on a weekly basis.

    April 19, 2014

  • Jacksonville College, high schools team up to offer dual credit program

    Jacksonville College is currently offering qualifying high school juniors and seniors attending Jacksonville and New Summerfield ISDs and The Brookhill School in Bullard the opportunity to get head start on their higher education.

    April 18, 2014

  • JISD board members to consider district strategic plan

    The Jacksonville ISD Board of Trustees will meet at 6:30 p.m. Monday, April 21, to discuss a district strategic plan and consider buying new band uniforms.

    April 18, 2014

  • 2 men arrested after standoff in grocery store

    Two men were arrested early Wednesday morning after a standoff at the B&B Foods in Alto.
    According to Alto Police Chief Jeremy Jackson, a person reported seeing two black males at the store just before 3 a.m. Wednesday.

    April 17, 2014

  • Some area entities closed for holiday

    Many area offices and businesses will be closed Friday in observance of Good Friday and Easter.

    April 17, 2014

  • Dispatcher Enge 0416.tif JPD dispatcher killed in wreck

    A dispatcher for the Jacksonville Police Department was killed Monday on her way to work, according to officials.
    Amber Enge, 35, of Whitehouse was pronounced dead at the scene of a one-vehicle wreck Monday afternoon on CR 2177 in Whitehouse.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • CR speed limit changes, E-filling fee top agenda

    On Monday, Cherokee County commissioners set April 28 to hold public hearings concerning the changing speed limits on two county roads.

    April 16, 2014

  • Catherine look.tif Religious lines drawn: Protesters met by members of Church of Wells

    Other than a few community members' voices that rose above the crowd, the protest Saturday against the Church of Wells remained peaceful.

    April 15, 2014 3 Photos