Keeping parks and playgrounds safe should be a priority

in Contributors by

By Pamela Brownstein

The weather last weekend was so wonderful — mild and sunny — I had to remind myself it was the beginning of December. The weekend was also wonderful because we didn’t have a lot of plans and could spend some quality time with our baby Wolfe, who, at almost 11 months, is becoming bigger and more independent every day. He’s already a fast crawler, but recently he’s been testing his balance and we think he’ll be walking before Christmas. He has a sweet personality and he’s very curious and likes to laugh and play.

Before I had trepidations about taking him to playgrounds because he was so little, but now he’s the perfect age. We walked to Waterfront Park on Sunday morning and I let him loose on the playground and he loved it. He laughed when I pushed him on the swing, and I followed behind as he joyfully explored the equipment.

When he came to a low wall of little steering wheels and buttons, I scooped him up to avoid a hanging piece of yellow and black CAUTION ribbon. I couldn’t determine what it was cautioning against, but wasn’t taking chances, so we continued on to another part of the playground.

Later that day, my husband and I took Wolfe to the little park on our street. Its official name is Tic Toc Park, but there are no signs — or really much of anything, for that matter. It’s no frills and nothing fancy, but we like it that way. There’s open space for Wolfe to roam, so it’s great for us.

Recently there have been efforts to improve the dated equipment at the park. Normally, I would applaud this, but an unfinished piece has orange cones around it and a ribbon of tape that reads WARNING has been like that for months. Our neighborhood has been historically working class; our needs are often put on the back burner compared to other areas of the city. But, really? Why would someone bother installing new equipment if they don’t have the time or resources to complete it?

I can’t say how long the caution ribbon has been at the playground in Waterfront Park, but with all the people who go there, I hope it wasn’t long because it doesn’t give a good impression.

I know the city has a budget and I’m sure its employees are busy, but what’s more important than having safe playground equipment, no matter where you live?