City says North Shore playground built by volunteers must come down

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A playground on the North Shore built on city property by volunteers must come down in April.

Even though the area is maintained and kept clean by community members, the playground was installed at Backyards without the city’s permission and doesn’t conform to city regulations.

Even though it was put up illegally, some parents want to know what they can do to keep it a nice area for their children to play.

Parents who visit the playground every day with their children said the structure that includes two slides and several swings has been there for at least a year.

The city, however, says it doesn’t conform to safety standards, so the Parks and Recreation department posted a notice letting the community know it would have to come down by April 15.

Parent Kristin Klein said “I think it’s a shame. I think there are a lot of kids out here who love this park, and play every day, so anything to keep it a part of the community would be great.”

A city spokesperson told KHON2 the structure does not conform to city regulations, one of the issues being that it’s not anchored to the ground, and could blow over. And the city can’t allow individuals to install permanent structures in city parks.

“It brings so much joy to all the children,” said parent Alexis Bilderback, “that we wish that we would be able to maintain something like this, if not this permanent structure, then some other permanent structure children can enjoy.”

While the area belongs to the city, it’s not an official park and has no amenities. So to install a playground, this land would have to be designated as a mini park, which would require community input.

Community members can also raise funds and make a gift to the city to build a playground. For example, Niu Valley residents raised more than $77,000 to donate to the city to build a playground in their community. That process took over 10 years, but the estimated deadline for that park to be completed is this summer.

We reached out to representing City Council member Ernie Martin to ask if he would support the idea of building a playground in that area.

He says that “As for the community park, I commend those who have stepped up and attempted to provide a playground at their own cost. Of course, we need to be sure that the playground is appropriate, safe and available for all and are willing to work with the community to either accept or improve upon what currently exists for the community’s use and enjoyment.”

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