SANATOGA PA – The opening this month of new play equipment at Lower Pottsgrove Township’s popular Gerald Richards Park on Buchert Road has raised concerns about the safe use of playgrounds and other park facilities overall, Assistant Manager Alyson Elliott said Friday afternoon (Sept. 14, 2012), so the township is asking visitors to, in part, serve as watchdogs.
The equipment consists of brightly colored swings, shimmy poles and climbing contraptions, and has been a big hit since its installation during the last week of August and first week of September. Children literally swarm over the area, with huge grins and amid peals of laughter.
The township proudly showed off photos of individual pieces Wednesday (Sept. 12) in an album of nine photos on its Facebook page. The status update was quickly shared by The Post on its own Facebook page, and that’s where parents began complaining the fun at Richards wasn’t all it could be.
“Can’t wait for someone to get seriously hurt. Teenagers pushing too many little ones too high on the swings,” wrote Alena Barry. “Too bad my daughter and many other children cannot play on it because it is full of teenagers being extremely rough and trying to purposefully knock people off the swing and flip it over,” added Jeananne Lockey.
Township officials apparently got an earful too.
Elliott, in a statement authorized by the Board of Commissioners, said Lower Pottsgrove would willingly prosecute poor playground behavior, and rules and regulations violations. But, the statement added, “we need … the users of our parks and playgrounds to contact … police when you witness poor behavior in our parks, and testify against any offenders.”
“Without your eyewitness report, we cannot prosecute anyone damaging township property or violating park, playground or township rules,” the statement said. “If we cannot prosecute, we have a difficult time modifying behaviors that negatively affect you and your family’s enjoyment.”
One of those negative behaviors? “I watched a fist fight in there on Saturday (Sept. 8) between two young girls,” Melissa Muir reported to The Post. “This playground needs supervision. Very sad that no one seems happy it was put there.”
Township-paid playground supervisors certainly are not budgeted this year, and given financial constraints they also seem unlikely for the next or coming years. That leaves it to volunteers – probably parents watching over their own children – to spot potential trouble and give the police department – just across from the park – a call at 610-326-1508, or to dial 9-1-1 after hours or during an emergency.
To ensure every visitor knows what is expected, Elliott said copies of the playground rules “will be posted at both our Gerald Richards and Sanatoga Park playgrounds.”
Photos from Lower Pottsgrove Township