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Published: Thursday, 9/4/2003

New playground gear slated for S. Toledo park

BY JANET ROMAKER
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Chelsey Gray, in polka dots, and Ashlee Hartsfeld have fun on swings that often break down. Chelsey Gray, in polka dots, and Ashlee Hartsfeld have fun on swings that often break down.
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Beverly Park in South Toledo will be getting a face-lift, despite Toledo's money-saving move to eliminate playground replacement funds from its budget.

For the last eight years, District 2 Councilman Rob Ludeman said, the city has conducted a playground replacement program.

“We've typically been able to do one playground per council district per year,” he said.

Earlier this year, the city eliminated playground replacement funds from the budget to save money. But Mr. Ludeman worked with city auditor Dan Hiskey to identify available funds for some smaller projects, and the councilman was able to get the project back into the budget. He said he then received “full support for that.”

The park, in the 3700 block of Beechway, draws visitors from across the neighborhood, particularly parents of young children. Some of those parents asked city officials to consider installing newer, safer equipment, Mr. Ludeman said. He pushed for the project because of the great need to replace old, broken items.

Safety is very important, he said, noting that Beverly Park is close to the last one in his district to receive new equipment.

The older, mostly metal equipment at the park does not really meet current safety standards, and the swings and other equipment break down, he said.

City officials are seeking input from residents because different neighborhoods have different wants and needs, Mr. Ludeman said.

For instance, residents might want to suggest a color scheme to blend in with and accent the homes in the neighborhood, he said.

Installation of the new equipment could take place in the spring. Estimated cost for the project is $50,000.

Mr. Ludeman pointed out that a parents' group at Beverly Elementary School raised funds to buy new playground equipment for the school, about eight blocks from the park.

When the park project is finished, the area will feature “two really nice parks. That really adds to the livability of the neighborhood,” Mr. Ludeman said.

Residents interested in making suggestions for playground improvements to Beverly Park can attend a public meeting at 6:30 p.m. on Sept. 10 at Beverly Elementary School, 4022 Rugby Drive.

Representatives from the city's department of parks, recreation, and forestry will present conceptual plans.



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