In a 4-3 split, the Fulton City Council voted to immediately close a section of playground equipment with multiple safety violations.
The Kiddy Corral, or "orange park," six pieces of equipment at Veterans Park closest to the country club have been cited over the past nine years for safety infractions by the Missouri Intergovernmental Risk Management Association (MIRMA). MIRMA currently has made nine recommendations for the playground, citing 42 to 45 pieces that pose safety hazards.
Hazards include head entrapment areas such as space between bars on railings and ladders in which a child's head or neck could become stuck, openings not totally enclosed by boundaries on all sides, repairs to the fence around the park and improvements to the playground surface.
"The problem is, one, if we try to repair things ourselves we can create a different safety hazard," Parks and Recreation Director Clay Caswell told the city council at its meeting Tuesday evening. "Two, MIRMA's recommendation might say "this structure has multiple safety hazards,' which might mean 10 things on one piece of equipment, and if we don't fix them all that recommendation stays."
Of the equipment there, Caswell said only one piece - the monkey bars - currently hold no safety issues. He said the swings, which were cited for being too close to the fence, would still be usable if they were moved to a new location, and that the slide itself was fine but the structure around it had problems that might prove too difficult to repair and would likely need to be replaced outright.
Council members Lowe Cannell, Mary Rehklau, Mike West and Wayne Chailland voted to close the Kiddy Corral immediately, expressing their concern for safety hazards and resulting liability to children playing on the park.
"All the money aside, if this is a safety hazard to the children, we need to fix it one way or the other," West said. "We should meet regulations, yes, but the real focus is the children."