We take safety very seriously. When we were made aware of a potential problem in our sand play area at Stafford Park back in January of 2009, we addressed this issue head on. Collectively, our staff felt that the right thing to do was to test the sand to see if indeed there was a problem. We found out there was – presence of what we considered high levels of e.coli – and we closed that portion of the park to correct it. We even went so far as to test other sand areas in our parks to ensure that these were safe. Most were, but we did find that we had an issue at Maddux Park as well.
We focused on these two parks by removing the sand and replacing it with large coarse sand, and when e.coli returned, we tried different approaches. From changing the drainage, treating the sand, turning off the water, and incorporating daily screening of the sand, high levels of e.coli returned inconsistently over the past two years. We felt that it wasn’t fair to our park users to come to a park where a portion of it was often closed. We needed to replace the sand play areas at these two parks with something else that still had a “high play value” for children.
The result after two community meetings held at each park was to transform the sand areas into tot water play areas.
We’re happy to report that Maddux Park is now re-opened! The initial reports for our little users are clear through their smiles as they run through the “spitting frogs”.
We’re also very close in re-opening the tot area at Stafford Park. The contractor is finishing up the “punch-list” items and we’ll open as soon as our high standards are met (again, it should be opened soon!).
Thank you for your patience through this project.CHRIS BETH
Parks, Recreation & Community Services Director