Parents still concerned about exposed, rusted metal after repairs made to Cleveland park

CLEVELAND - Crews from Cleveland’s Department of Public Works continue to make repairs at Impett Park in the city’s West Park neighborhood. However, many parents are still concerned about the still-exposed and rusted metal structure at the toddler section of the playground.

Last month, News 5 profiled the issues prevalent at the park, including zip-ties holding part of the playground together; the cratered and cracked cushioned play surface; missing swings from the swing set; a gazebo roof that badly needed to be shored up, as well as the missing plastic coating around parts of the playground equipment. The absence of the hard plastic coating leaves the exposed metal structure of the playground. Parts of the exposed metal structure have begun to rust, leaving jagged edges in some places.

City officials said the City of Cleveland did not secure the area of playground railing with zip-ties. It has since been properly bolted together.

When the initial story aired, a spokeswoman from Mayor Frank Jackson’s office said crews would begin making repairs later in May. By mid-June, many of the repairs had been made.

On Friday, city crews were shoring up the gazebo by reinforcing the wooden canopy structure. Last week, crews installed new swings and painted the swing set. A new cushioned play surface was also installed near the playground equipment.

However, the rusted, exposed metal playground structure had not been repaired.

“Kids, they are very curious so that is exactly the place they want to go where it’s dangerous, where the steel sticks out,” said neighbor Olya Copan. “What if [my daughter] falls on her face right on that spot? It’s scary dangerous.”

Copan and her daughter, Veronica, frequent Impett Park several times a week. Aside from the issues with the playground equipment, Copan said the park is a great place to bring her family.

“First of all, it’s close by. We walk here normally,” Copay said. “I just want her to have community… all these kids that she knows in this neighborhood.”

Copan sad she and other park-goers have previously complained about the condition of the playground equipment. In 2016, Copan said crews installed a large piece of wood to replace the deteriorating bottom step on the toddler playground equipment. Since then, and prior to the last couple of weeks, no repairs have been made to the playground, Copay said.

“Kids safety, their life, their well-being, isn’t that supposed to be the very first concern for society?” Copan said.

A city spokesman said crews from the Department of Public Works will be sent to the playground, perhaps as early as Friday, to survey the exposed sections of playground equipment. Safety is the number one priority, the spokesman said.

The city’s recently-released future capital improvement plans did not include money allocated for a total revamp of playground equipment at Impett Park next year. In 2016, the city conducted an assessment of all city parks. Since then, the city has allocated $5 million a year to parks improvements that were identified in the assessment.

Last year, the city spent nearly $400,000 in improvements at Impett Park to build a new concession stand and updated restrooms. However, on Friday, the concession stand and bathrooms were not open. Instead, two portable toilets were placed in different locations in the park.

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