Kiwanis playground closed until further notice

Joedy McCreary

May 3, 2013

Wayne Allen

PDT Staff Writer

The city of Portsmouth Service Department in cooperation with the Kiwanis Club of Portsmouth has closed the playground in Tracy Park until further notice due to a number of issues with the structure including sharp edges.

In March a sizable tree in the park came up by its roots and smashed a large portion of of the playground.

“It really should have been closed off the day the tree fell. We don’t want kids playing on it and getting hurt,” said John Johnson, President of the Kiwanis Club of Portsmouth. “We are working with the city of Portsmouth on estimates (to repair the structure) to get everything started. “

Bill Beaumont, City Service Director, said since the tree fell on the structure, crews have made several attempts to close the structure.

“We had tape up there from the beginning but, it kept getting torn down. We put up a fence and it got town down within two days,” Beaumont said. “We then put it back up and I have not been by there today to see if it’s been torn down again.”

He said the structure will be blocked off until it can be fixed.

“It’s going to stay that way because it’s a liability to the city if someone gets hurt on it,” Beaumont said. “As long as we’ve got a fence on there, if someone gets in there and gets hurt then it’s their responsibility.”

Beaumont offered advice to people who visit the park,”Stay off of it. It’s dangerous.”

He said the city is waiting on an insurance check to arrive so work can begin to restore the structure.

When asked if the anticipated insurance check would cover the cost to restore that structure, Beaumont said, “Nope. We’re going resubmit the claim again because John (Johnson) came up with some additional numbers. The city is supposed to get a check and it’s way off from what John anticipates what it would cost to replace it.”

As to making up the difference, Beaumont said, “We have not gotten into it yet.”

Johnson said the playground cost $70,000 to build, and the club raised $76,000 with the remainder going into a maintenance fund.

Wayne Allen may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 228, or tallen@civitasmedia.com. For breaking news, follow Wayne on Twitter @WayneallenPDT.