Safety concerns prompt park board to remove playground equipment

EAST LIVERPOOL – With concern for safety, the Thompson Park board agreed Tuesday to remove one of the large pieces of equipment at the park playground, with hope that grant money will become available to replace it.

Board member Samantha Kinemond, who has spearheaded an effort to find funding sources for new equipment, admitted she does not allow her children to play on the large wooden playground piece, with park Superintendent J.C. Blackhurst saying his children are not allowed on it, either.

Blackhurst said the hardware is rotted and needs to be replaced and that, if grant funding is not received, he expected repairs to begin in the spring on the equipment.

“We can’t ignore it,” board President Burl Warrick cautioned, saying repairs needed made now, not later.

However, after discussing the possibility of repairing the piece, it was decided to tear it down now.

Blackhurst is currently writing an application for a $25,000 grant, and Warrick reported a second $25,000 grant will be sought from the Blue Grass Pipeline, all of which would be used for playground equipment if awarded.

Kinemond said the biggest complaint she hears is that there is no playground at the upper level of the park and suggested that, if new playground equipment is ever purchased, some be placed near the No.1 pavilion, which would at least be closer to the park entrance than the existing playground.

The board learned from Blackhurst that the roof of the No. 1 pavilion is “mush” and need replaced, and that the nearby restroom needs attention.

Blackhurst also proposed the idea of bringing in an Amish logging company with horses and sleds to clean up the trees felled during a storm earlier this year.

“Without cutting huge roads, we can’t get down in there,” Blackhurst said.

Warrick said a forester should first be brought in to give an estimate of what the lumber would be worth, saying the forester would receive a percentage so it would “behoove him to get the best deal.”

No decision was made on the matter.

It was also agreed that a large grill that has not been used will be placed on wheels so it can be used at various locations in the park and made available for visitors who would like to use it.

The board voted to contract with Affordable Hardwood Flooring and Refinishing to refinish the floors at the park house at a cost of $2,326.