Oklahoma City closes seven playgrounds temporarily for safety risk

A potential safety risk involving foreign material in the playing surface at seven Oklahoma City playgrounds has prompted city officials to close them temporarily.
BY MICHAEL KIMBALL mkimball@opubco.com Published: October 12, 2012
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Oklahoma City officials have temporarily closed seven playgrounds at city parks because of debris like roofing materials and insulation found in playing surfaces.

A material made of engineered wood fibers was recently put in at the parks by March's Mulch, a new contractor used by the city for playing surfaces, city Parks and Recreation Department Director Wendel Whisenhunt said.

Parks crews found the foreign materials Thursday morning in the wood chips, prompting officials to close the parks until the issue is resolved. The materials found in the playing surface included the insulation and roofing materials, along with pieces of metal and plastic.

“Out of an abundance of caution, we're going to close those playgrounds temporarily until we've assessed the situation,” Whisenhunt said, adding that officials aren't sure how the material became included in the playing surface, but it was not intentional.

The playgrounds will be barricaded with orange construction fencing, and signs displayed that show the park is closed.

City officials will evaluate the risks posed by the materials in the seven playgrounds before deciding how to move forward, Whisenhunt said.



AT A GLANCE

Oklahoma City's 7 Temporarily closed playgrounds

Douglas Park, 500 NW 47

Lake Draper Concession, SE 104 and W Stanley Draper Drive

Lake Draper North Point, Point 10 Recreation Area

Route 66 Park, 9901 NW 23

Washington Park, 400 N High Ave.

Woodrun Park, 4 N Willowood Drive

Youngs Park, 4610 S Youngs Blvd.

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