Springfield Parents Express Van Horn Park Safety Concerns
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB) –On Wednesday, Christy Torres was enjoying a day at Springfield’s Van Horn Park with her family, when she noticed a young boy had gotten hurt while playing here. “When I walked over here, I said, ok. So the poor kid falls off of the monkey bars. I didn’t see it happen. I had just ran over when I heard he got injured. There’s no safe place. God knows he could’ve hit his head on one of those sharp tubes, metal hanging out of the ground, and it just didn’t make any sense,” she said.
The tubes Torres is referring to actually make up an exercise station named FitCorp.
To Christy, and other kids at the park, they look like monkey bars. Although there is an actual playground at the other end of the park, she’s upset there are no signs that clearly outline what the bars are supposed to be used for. “I heard people say ‘Wow, that’s not a safe place for kids to play’ I said yes, clearly, there’s other concerned parents as well as myself. I took pictures of it. Also, I called Parks and Rec, and I’m just waiting to hear back from them, but now it’s got a nice fence,” smiled Torres.
By Thursday, crews were out fencing it in.
Forest Park’s Fit Corp is what Van Horn’s is supposed to look like. Both structures are about 25 years old, and have withstood the normal wear and tear. Yet, it’s a problem that the parks department says they were already aware of. “Over time, there’s been some minor dismantling and vandalism. We’re checking with the manufacturer to see if we can still obtain the replacement parts, they still make them, but of course they change the design over the years,” Pat Sullivan, Springfield’s Director of Parks, Buildings and Recreation stated.
It would cost $90,000 to replace both FitCorp units. It would cost $5,000-$8,000 for replacement parts.
Torres also notes she’d like to see signs go up in English & Spanish.
If the parts are available, Sullivan expects both units to be repainted and reopened by late September.
Sullivan says if you notice any vandalism to make sure you report it to Springfield police at (413) 787-6325, and to contact the Parks Department at (413) 787-6440.