The Timing Seems Odd Or At Least A Coincidence.

Seldom in life are there true coincidences, and we believe that is especially true when it comes to governments and government actions.

A few weeks ago the City of Palm Bay closed off four sets of play equipment after it was determined the sets were dangerous. According to the FloridaToday:

Palm Bay recreation workers have closed four aging park playgrounds, and they want opinions on installing new slides, step climbers, swings and other equipment.

The affected playgrounds:

• Liberty Park, 895 Carlyle Ave. SE

• Oakwood Park, 490 Koutnik Road SE

• Riviera Park, 550 Riviera Drive NE

• Veterans Memorial Park, 2201 Port Malabar Blvd. NE

“In November, city of Palm Bay parks and recreation staff determined that the playgrounds at these four parks were beyond their useful lifespan, and recommended the removal of these playgrounds to avoid potentially unsafe conditions for users,” said Christina Born, city spokeswoman.

“Staff roped off the playgrounds and called an outside vendor, Advanced Recreational Concepts, to provide a secondary inspection. ARC’s certified safety inspector concurred with staff’s recommendation to remove the playgrounds, based on concerns regarding signs of rust and the potential for structural compromise,” Born said.

Residents screamed and perhaps rightfully so. It seemed odd that four sets of playground equipment were suddenly inspected and closed. It seemed odd that four sets of equipment needed to be replaced rather than one or two sets which would be more likely if the sets were inspected on a regular basis.It seemed odd that a company that sells playground equipment was doing the inspection. After all, what better way to make more sales than to say sets are defective and at the end of their lifespan? (That’s the cynic in us talking. We don’t want to disparage the Advanced Recreational Concepts, but unfortunately something like that would not be the first time. We’ll take them at their word and still be cynical because of the track record of officials in Palm Bay itself.) It also seemed odd that the sets were not part of a capital improvement plan that would have replaced the sets as they approached the end of their lifespan rather than after their lifespan.

There may be an answer to what precipitated the inspections:

HOWELL – A former Griebling Elementary School kindergarten student has secured a $170,000 settlement after injuring her hand and arm going down a school playground slide that was too steep, according to court records.

On Oct. 14, 2014, the then-kindergarten student “was using the slide on the school playground during recess,” according to a civil complaint filed in state superior court in June. She “slid down the side at an excessive rate of speed due to the steep slope of the slide causing her to fall off and sustain significant injuries to her right hand and arm.”

The slide in question was angled at 35.2 degrees to the ground, despite a federal standard that slides for preschool- and school-aged children should be no greater than 30 degrees, according to the complaint.

Ciro Tufano, an attorney for the girl and her family, wrote that the school district was negligent for failing to keep equipment up to standards and for failing to maintain safe premises. He also wrote that the school district failed to properly supervise or protect children using the slide.

The settlement in the Greibling Elementary School was in October, 2019 and Palm Bay inspected and closed equipment in November of the same year.


Still, even if the inspections were a result of a newsletter dealing with risk management or some other source, it still doesn’t answer the basic questions of why did the sets “fail” at the same time, when were they last inspected, why aren’t replacements in the capital improvement plan, etc.?

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