Friday, Jul 12th

No Swings for Babies in Greenacres

swingsGreenacres has a newly renovated school, but after three years of requests there are still no swings for young children in the playground, which is on Village owned property.

In 2020 we noticed that the iron bar that once held the baby swings was bare. Parents and grandparents with babies had no swings.

Over the years, we wrote to Trustee Lewis and the Recreation Department and received numerous replies – but no plans to replace them.Finally in the 2022-23 Village budget, $40,000 was allocated to install a new playground.

So what happened since then? Nothing.

According to Brian Gray, Superintendent of the Recreation Department, an inspector deemed the swings to be unsafe years ago, and the swings are so old that replacement parts were no longer available. So they determined that a new swing set would need to be installed.

However, the bids that came in to replace the playground exceeded the $40,000 in the budget. So the project was tabled. In the 2023-24 budget those funds disappeared altogether and we’re told they are now being used to install pickleball courts at Crossway.

We’ve written to the Mayor and the Rec Department numerous times, and here’s the latest. It’s a long explanation of why there are no swings – without any assurance that there will ever be swings.

Take a look at this email dated July 7, 2023.

Good Morning Joanne,

I am in receipt of your email below and would like to provide some background on the Greenacres Playground renovation project as it relates to the delay.

The Department of PRC’s Park Foreman is a certified playground inspector. A couple years ago, while performing a routine inspection of the swings at Greenacres Playground, it was identified that the bushings which secure the clevis hangers that attach to the chains holding the swings had worn away. The bushings are inserted into welded brackets along the top rail which are ultimately part of the overall swing apparatus. Referring to Standard Consumer Safety Performance Specifications for Playgrounds Equipment for Public Use, ASTM1487-17 – Fig.A1.17 (diagram attached) the clevis hangers were no longer safe and needed replacement prior to returning the swings back in service.

Upon trying to get a like for like replacement, we identified that the original manufacturer of the swing set was Iron Mountain Forge, who had been bought out by Little Tikes approximately 20 years ago. Unfortunately Little Tikes no longer manufactures the necessary parts, therefore necessitating replacement of the entire apparatus.

Upon gaining quotes for the full project renovation, inflation had driven playground costs up as much as 40% since the Village Board appropriated funding for the renovation. In an effort to be fiscally responsible, Department staff has delayed the project in hopes costs come down and we can purchase and install an updated playground within the appropriated budget.

The funding source for the project is the Park Land Trust which I utilize for most Capital Projects planned for the Department of PRC. The current Capital plan has $410,000 earmarked from the Park Land Trust Acct. for the construction of Pickleball Courts. The Village is now focusing on offering a Pickleball Pilot Program that could change funding necessary moving forward. Providing the outcome of the Pickleball pilot program, there may be funding available from the Park Trust Acct. for me to request an increase for Playground Renovation Projects in the future.

I have attached a few pictures below of the existing swing structure and failed clevis hangers to this email so you gain a full understanding of what I have described.