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Playground equipment gets a boost

GLENDALE — Aging playgrounds at half a dozen parks throughout Glendale are slated to receive major upgrades by next spring, including modern high-tech play structures and improved access for disabled children, park officials said.

The six-park plan will cost the city more than $680,000 to replace older play structures with newer ones that, in a presentation to the Parks, Services & Recreation Commission on Tuesday, looked like they came out of a family entertainment park.

Forget the standard platforms with attached slides, these structures will feature higher and more complex climbing schemes with twisting tube slides.

“The kids are getting way more daring and more adventurous,” project manager Sean Toro told the commissioners.

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The most extensive upgrade will go to Fremont Park at Hahn and North Kenilworth avenues and include a tall, double-slide structure for older children and a miniature one for younger kids, Toro said.

Crews will also install a large, artificial climbing boulder and a larger swing set, he said.

A new structure will also be built over a recessed part of the playground to give disabled children, particularly those in wheelchairs, the greatest access among all the city’s parks, according to the city’s Playground Equipment Replacement Project.

While all of the new equipment installed at the six parks will feature “transfer stations” for wheelchair-bound children, the Fremont structure minimizes the rise to the equipment since it will be built below-grade, Toro said.

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“With Fremont, we just went a step further,” he said.

Lindsay Peruvian, 23, who was at the park Thursday with her 8-year-old nephew, Michael, said the changes were needed.

“The more you can keep kids outside and interested in being here, the better,” she said. “I have a hard enough time competing with his stupid video games.”

In all, the upgrades to Fremont Park alone will cost about $236,000, according to the report.

Other parks scheduled for new equipment are Glenoaks, Glorietta and Dunsmore. Wilson and Milford mini-parks will also receive upgrades under the plan.

As each playground is upgraded, crews will replace sand with wood fiber chips, which provide greater mobility for disabled children and more of a cushion for falls, Toro said.

The parks represent the first round of what will be ongoing installations over the next several years for all the city’s parks, parks Director George Chapjian said.

“Most of our equipment is old and needs replacement,” he said. “These are the ones that need immediate attention.”

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Until recently, the city had to defer maintenance on the park playgrounds due to budget constraints, he said. While none of them poses any safety hazard, almost all of them have outlived their intended lifespan, he added.

Construction on the list of projects will begin in November and will likely be completed by spring 2008, Chapjian said.

After that, park officials will remodel one or two playgrounds a year until they are all covered, he said.

The Parks, Recreation & Community Services Department will also spend thousands of dollars to fix rotted portions of some buildings and upgrade restrooms to bring them into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The pronounced wear and tear of some of the buildings has been caused by exposure to the elements over the years, Chapjian said.

“At this point, we just can’t defer any more maintenance,” he said.


  • JASON WELLS covers public safety and the courts. He may be reached at (818) 637-3232 or by e-mail at jason.wellslatimes.com.

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