Playground equipment to be removed

Buckhannon City Council decided Tuesday it was time to remove two old wooden playground structures at its city park.

The aging equipment is considered a safety hazard, officials said. Located to the right of the park entrance and near a gazebo, the structures will eventually be removed.

No specific time frame for the removal was established Tuesday. Street Commissioner Jerry Arnold was directed by City Council to have workers remove the equipment as time permits.

“The playground equipment that is there now wouldn’t be used at a school. You would be asked to take it down for liability issues,” Arnold said.

With inspiration from Lewis County, where an antiquated swimming pool was replaced by a modern facility with the help of a levy, City Council will consider finding funding to replace the old equipment.

Mayor Kenneth Davidson said rather than look first at replacing equipment, Council should know there are many pre-fabricated playgrounds that already meet code and safety standards. He said he would like to get a rendered image of how one of those structures would look in the city park.

Davidson said the image can be made available to the public, in hopes it will create enough interest to garner private donations or support for a levy.

“Get donations or put it up as a levy to raise the money to do it right,” Davidson said. “It’s something that will stay there and that we’ll have for many years. I think if we put out what we’re going to do and what it’s going to cost, we could get community support.”

While council members agreed that the playground equipment needed removal, they could not agree on a budgetary decision regarding the city’s rainy day fund.

The fund stands at about $500,000 currently, but treasurer Michael Doss estimated that more than $100,000 could be added to it. Doss said that a decision must be made by the next council meeting, which is scheduled at 7 p.m. on July 16 at Buckhannon City Hall. A special work session to discuss the matter will take place at 4 p.m. Monday.

Councilman Dave Thomas said that instead of putting aside additional money in the rainy day fund, he would rather see it used to pay off some existing city debts.

Davidson suggested that City Council consider using some funds to help move the Buckhannon Police Department from the basement of City Hall to the Public Service Complex faster.