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Editorial: Uncertainty plagues playground safety issues in Wallingford – Meriden Record-Journal

It has to be frustrating for Wallingford leaders, and residents as well, that a seemingly straightforward issue like park safety can become so complicated and uncertain. Yet that’s the picture presented at a recent Town Council meeting which, as the Record-Journal reported, raised more questions than answers.

Town playgrounds and parks have been a focus at least since a fire destroyed a playscape at Doolittle Park last year. The recent council meeting included discussion of a report by the Building Maintenance Committee. Councilor Craig Fishbein had asked Parks and Recreation officials and the town’s risk manager to attend to talk about safety issues. But the interaction with Kurt Treiber, the town’s risk manager, revealed limitations as well as perhaps a misunderstanding about what it means when it comes to safety concerns.

Fishbein asked Treiber about a few specific concerns, including about handicapped ramps at Wallace Park, and Treiber responded that he is not “an ADA trained individual.”

“The only time I get involved in ADA as it pertains to playgrounds is a very limited scope,” said Treiber. 

Other questions about other parks revealed similar limitations. “So when it’s represented to us that there are no safety concerns at the parks, that is excluding basketball courts, soccer fields, baseball fields, all of that stuff?” asked Fishbein. When Treiber responded in the affirmative, Fishbein said he was “very distressed over the representation that our parks are safe when there are safety issues and what I’m hearing tonight as to what the representations are as to what is safe and what is not safe.”

It is indeed distressing. We are talking, after all, concerns that include the safety of children. “Safety is a mindset,” said Gabriel Ramos, a member of the Building Maintenance Committee. “It should be in everybody’s mind. Everybody should be responsible for safety conditions. If you see something, say something.”

In the interests of safety, one of the questions that come out of the frustrating meeting include who, if anyone, is in charge of ADA issues. And if that answer does not include the risk manager, what is it that the risk manager is expected to do? These are questions for the new mayoral administration and for the town in general going forward. It should not be so complicated, and there’s a lot at stake in getting it right.

 

It has to be frustrating for Wallingford leaders, and residents as well, that a seemingly straightforward issue like park safety can become so complicated and uncertain. Yet that’s the picture presented at a recent Town Council meeting which, as the Record-Journal reported, raised more questions than answers.
Town playgrounds and parks have been a focus at least since a fire destroyed a playscape at Doolittle Park last year. The recent council meeting included discussion of a report by the Building Maintenance Committee. Councilor Craig Fishbein had asked Parks and Recreation officials and the town’s risk manager to attend to talk about safety issues. But the interaction with Kurt Treiber, the town’s risk manager, revealed limitations as well as perhaps a misunderstanding about what it means when it comes to safety concerns.
Fishbein asked Treiber about a few specific concerns, including about handicapped ramps at Wallace Park, and Treiber responded that he is not “an ADA trained individual.”
“The only time I get involved in ADA as it pertains to playgrounds is a very limited scope,” said Treiber. 
Other questions about other parks revealed similar limitations. “So when it’s represented to us that there are no safety concerns at the parks, that is excluding basketball courts, soccer fields, baseball fields, all of that stuff?” asked Fishbein. When Treiber responded in the affirmative, Fishbein said he was “very distressed over the representation that our parks are safe when there are safety issues and what I’m hearing tonight as to what the representations are as to what is safe and what is not safe.”
It is indeed distressing. We are talking, after all, concerns that include the safety of children. “Safety is a mindset,” said Gabriel Ramos, a member of the Building Maintenance Committee. “It should be in everybody’s mind. Everybody should be responsible for safety conditions. If you see something, say something.”
In the interests of safety, one of the questions that come out of the frustrating meeting include who, if anyone, is in charge of ADA issues. And if that answer does not include the risk manager, what is it that the risk manager is expected to do? These are questions for the new mayoral administration and for the town in general going forward. It should not be so complicated, and there’s a lot at stake in getting it right.
 

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