Seven OKC Playgrounds To Close Due To Safety Concerns

Thursday, October 11th 2012, 2:32 pm
By: News 9

A potentially dangerous situation has forced the temporary closing of seven public parks in Oklahoma City.

The parks closed Thursday morning after a monthly safety inspection found hazardous materials underneath the playgrounds' surface. Seven of the city's parks are fenced off and closed for fall break.

Kathy Chow didn't mind the 35 miles drive to Route 66 Park so her four grand kids could run around, but the orange fence and closed sign changed their plans.

"We still had sun, played next to the park and played with their badminton rackets and ate their pizza, but they were just pretty disappointed. They waited all day to come too. We are going to try another park," said Chow.  

They must be selective since Route 66 is one of seven parks closed. Crews found the hazardous materials during a routine safety check on Thursday.

"Some may consider us to be too cautious and we are ok with that. We just don't take chances when it comes to the children of the community. Likely we will have to remove the  surfacing that is under there now and replace with a  new and clean safety surfacing," said Parks and Recreation Director, Wendel Whisenhunt.

Just beneath the playgrounds surface are foreign objects, pieces of plastic metal, roofing materials and insulation materials.

"What if the kids fall and get it stuck in their legs or their feet because they are playing barefoot?  What can you do? Metal gets in there you'd need tetanus shots, it could get infected," said Nikita Nero, whose children regularly play at the park.

The city is working with March Mulch, the local contractor who installed the safety barrier, to remove and replace the material which could take up to two weeks.

The closed playgrounds include:

Douglas Park, 500 NW 47th St.
Lake Draper Concession
Lake Draper North Point
Route 66 Park, 9901 NW 23rd St
Washington Park, 400 N. High
Woodrun Park, 4 N Willowood Dr
Youngs Park, 4610 S Youngs