3rd August 2017- By Lauren Lanmon
SAN MARCOS, Texas (KXAN) – At 25 years old, the oldest standing playground in San Marcos is showing its age. Pretty soon, the wooden playground will be torn down and replaced.
Park managers say the Children’s Park playground next to the river has some safety concerns and has cost the city a lot of money to maintain. The Children’s Park is one of the last all wooden parks in the Austin area, which is what many find so charming.
“What I love about it is the playground is wood. It’s blazing hot and trying to get them out before it gets too hot or either when the sun goes down, this is stuff that they won’t necessarily burn themselves on,” said San Marcos mother Tiffany Nealy.
On Wednesday, city leaders welcomed the public to share their ideas on what they hope the park will look like in the future.
“We are really hoping to get a lot of input from the community so it will reflect who we are,” said San Marcos Parks Operations manager Bert Stratemann.
KXAN walked through the park and found warped boards and screws and nails sticking out.
“It’s a tetanus nightmare looking at some of this stuff,” said Nealy. “I tell my kids to watch out and tell them not to run their hands along the side when they are running.”
Still, Nealy calls the park her children’s happy place that just so happens to come with a few warnings. “I just keep the first aid kit in the car and hope nothing happens,” she said.
“If we replace every board that needs to be replaced, it would cost us more than starting over,” said Stratmann.
The city of San Marcos has hired the same company that built the original park 25 years ago to come in and do a full makeover only this time there will be no wood.
“It can still be creative because they come in full boards just like lumber would. There are different types of plastic so we can be creative and design what we want,” said park designer Marc Leathers. “You would get the low maintenance of plastic so it will still look nice aesthetic wise.”
The city says the new park will cost around $1 million and will be handicap accessible. Construction is expected to start in January and could last up to six months.
The city hopes to schedule another meeting for residents in the future for those who were unable to attend. Stratemann says people can also email the parks and recreation department with their concerns and ideas.