Pavilions planned for playground

Published 5:00 am Monday, April 21, 2003

Kids’ Kingdom officials are moving forward with plans to expandthe community playground as questions linger about city assumptionof maintenance.

The playground off Industrial Park Road will soon have two newpavilions for community use.

“With the number of people using the park for birthday partiesand family outings, we thought the pavilions would be a greataddition to the playground,” said Don Doty, outgoing president ofthe Kids’ Kingdom Foundation.

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The pavilions will be 24 feet by 24 feet with concrete floors.Preliminary construction began Friday and should be completed bythe end of May.

The pavilions will be available on a first come, first servebasis, Doty said.

The status of the park with the City of Brookhaven was discussedduring a recent foundation board meeting. Kids’ Kingdom officialshave asked the city to assume supervision of park maintenance, butaldermen have raised questions about flood plain and liabilityconcerns.

“If the city has some questions, we certainly want to answerthose,” said Sally Doty, incoming foundation president.

The Dotys said all park-related documents requested by the citywere submitted last October. The Kids’ Kingdom board also offeredto pay for any soil samples that were needed.

Board members questioned the nature of the city’s concerns aboutflooding at the park, which recently celebrated is one-yearanniversary with a birthday bash that raised over $2,000 formaintenance and other needs.

Don Doty reported that while the parking lot of the playgroundhas flooded on two occasions during extremely heavy rains, theplayground itself does not flood. He said the ground below it wasbuilt up during construction, and water drains from the area withintwo or three hours after the rain subsides.

One suggestion at the board meeting was to place a gate the parkentrance to keep people out during heavy rainfall periods. A localbusiness has volunteered to provide a gate for that purpose, DonDoty said.

Kids’ Kingdom officials advised that young children shouldalways have adult supervision and would not be near the playgroundin the type of severe weather that floods the parking lot.

Kids’ Kingdom has also secured permission from a neighboringlandowner to clean out the ditches bordering the playgroundproperty. That should alleviate the problem, Doty said.

In discussing the Kids’ Kingdom situation, city officials at onepoint suggested the playground be moved elsewhere. Sally Doty saidthe park is built on approximately 100 poles that were concretedinto the ground.

“Anyone who helped build that playground knows that it is thereto stay,” she said. “The playground is in a good location, and withall the use that the park is getting, the community agrees.”

With city officials reluctant to assume supervision of the park,Sally Doty said it will lose a $10,000 Natural ResourcesConservation Service grant that had been allocated to help withlayout, design and landscaping of a walking trail.

“We’re not eligible for the grant because we’re not a publicentity,” she said.

Also, bathrooms for the park will not be built this summer.Sally Doty said playground officials were hoping to get grant moneyfor the work but will not be able to because they are not a publicentity.

Doty said playground officials appreciated the city’s repairinga water leak last week at the park. She said it was causing a goodbit of water problems there.

Doty said Kids’ Kingdom officials were not abandoning theirefforts in trying to get the city to assume park maintenance dutiesand would be willing to discuss the situation with them. For now,though, park resources will be used until the situation isresolved.

“We have the funds and volunteers to maintain it now,” Dotysaid. “That’s what we’re going to do.”