East 32nd Street playground
Lisbeth Petersen takes her two children down to Lake Calhoun’s East 32nd Street playground almost every day.
Petersen is a stay-at-home mom who lives on Humboldt Avenue, just a couple blocks away. But after a day at play, Peterson’s two youngsters, ages 1 and 4, sometimes march back home with some minor bleeding scrapes on their hands and knees.
The sand is so low in the play area that the concrete peeks from beneath, Petersen explained. When children and parents walk around the playground, it’s easy to slip and fall.
“My youngest just learned how to walk and guess what? He keeps falling down there,” Petersen said. “They scrape themselves terribly.”
There are rubber-coated walkways that weave through the playground but because the sand hasn’t been maintained, these walkways are now elevated 8 to 12 inches. This makes it too easy for little ones and big ones to slip off the edge, according to Petersen.
Petersen said the issue has become a hot topic of conversation among parents, which leads them to wonder: where can we get some sand?
According to Lakes District Manager Paul Hokeness, the East 32nd Street playground is on the priority list of parks needing new sand.
“We replenish [playgrounds] just about every spring,” Hokeness said. “Not at every park but the one’s that need it, and that one we know needs it.”
Hokeness said help is on the way, but it may come a little later rather than sooner.
A cadre of youth, members of the TeenWorks program, will pick up some shovels to move new sand into the playground sometime this summer, Hokeness said.
“We don’t get them until school gets out because most of them are high school students,” Hokeness said. “We’ll go down and look at it though if somebody thinks it’s dangerous. We can put some sand in there now, but it’s usually a major project spreading that stuff around.”
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