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Rushmore Heights Play Park

Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D. -- The Commander's Action Line is a forum for the Ellsworth community to make suggestions or voice concerns about Ellsworth directly to Col. Mark Weatherington, 28th Bomb Wing commander. 

QUESTION 

Sir, while the warm weather was blessing us these past few days myself and my children ventured to the play park in Rushmore Heights. To use the word "shocked" to describe the conditions of the park would be a huge understatement. I was speechless. Last summer the conditions of the park were not safe and I thought I was maybe a one time thing, sad to see it is not. There was little to no wood chips, the tarps underneath were exposed and blowing in the wind, many large sharp rocks under the tarps are tripping hazards, and in the middle there is a large concrete block and some bent metal bars sticking out of it. After spending maybe 5 minutes there I had one child fall off the end of the slide and get hurt because the wood chips are gone and do not go to the height required by the markings all around the play area. Myself and my children had tripped many times over the tarp on the ground, and my son could not climb up on most equipment because again, it is so far off the ground since there are no wood chips and what is there is not at the height required for safety. I understand as budget cuts are enforced we are losing more and more "luxuries" that we enjoy. However, having a park that is more a safety hazard than a play area doesn't seem very logical. I understand they shut down the safari indoor play area for a day to make it safer, I would ask that we take into consideration a place where the older children play. We love having a neighborhood park and would hate to have to stop using it because it just isn't safe. Thank you for your time.
Col. Mark Weatherington
Col. Mark
Weatherington
  RESPONSE

Thanks for spotting the problem and letting us know. The unusually warm weather last week came before our planned playground inspections, which we normally conduct in April every year. High winds and snow wreak havoc on our outdoor playgrounds. To ensure the grounds remain in better shape from season to season, we intend to replace the mulch with pea gravel once funding is available. In the meantime, we will get some replacement mulch on this playground quickly to make it usable and safe. If you ever see any dangerous situations like this please do not hesitate to contact the Housing Office directly at 385-2568 and they will ensure it gets the attention it needs.