June 23, 2015
BLAINE PARK IN SERIOUS NEED OF RENOVATION
BLAINE — Children were met with a surprise, or lack thereof, when they visited Blaine Park recently only to find out that the one and only slide was missing from the playground. Becoming concerned as to whether it had been taken for repairs or simply stolen, a quick call to the Lawrence County Judge Executive’s office confirmed that the slide hadn’t been removed for any reason, and had been stolen.
According to Judge Executive John Osbrone, at this time there is no funding available to replace the slide and he’s uncertain as to when monies may be available for such a project. He also stated that an insurance claim isn’t an option because the deductible would probably be higher than the actual cost of the slide.
As a concerned parent and involvement community member the idea to hold fundraisers to help raise funds for replacement playground equipment instantly came to mind, however also as a tax payer I feel that we as a community should fully utilize any and all available tax dollars to help maintain the county owned facility, which prompted me to make a call to our State Representative Jill York.
York was very helpful and agreed that we should first seek tax dollars to use, if there are any available. While she wasn’t aware of any immediate available options, she assured me it was something she planned to instantly look into. While I’m sure our elected state officials are very busy and have important issues to look into, this park is all we have in this area for our children and I appreciated the fact that she felt the same way and is committed to help find a solution.
Besides the theft, the recent harsh winter and flooding also took a toll on the park as the mulch has been washed away, landscape timbers broken and landscape cloth no longer in place. Judge Osborne did say that the county had the resources to pull the old cloth up and put down pea gravel in place of the mulch. As of Monday evening, someone was at the park with a tractor working on the landscape cloth which is great because if not fixed, it was a safety hazard to anyone there. I personally appreciate the Judge’s timely effort to help ensure our kids have a safe place to play.
As of now, it’s just a waiting game to see if either York or Osborne are able to come up with any solutions to offer, which I’m confident they will put forth an effort to do so. Either way, I’m certain that whether it be tax dollars or community member’s efforts, before long the Blaine Park will be back better and more beautiful than ever! It’s just a shame that something fun and beneficial to our kids in this area is ruined because a thieving idiot for lack of better words. The little park isn’t much I understand, but it’s more than we’ve ever had in this area and the kids enjoy it. Whoever stole the slide didn’t just steal from the park- they stole from our kids, they stole from the county and they stole from every single person that pay tax dollars to provide those things.
*** Please note that I do fully understand that there are more pressing issues throughout the area than a playground, such as roads that need repaired. But what most don’t understand is that counties aren’t just given x amount of dollars to spend however they chose. Monies are appropriated for different, specific projects. Certain monies are set aside for road repairs, and those monies often can’t be spent on any other project. Therefore I feel that asking for funding from a resource such as something appointed just for a beautification project, recreation, etc. is not unreasonable IF there is such a thing available.