JOSEPHINE COUNTY, Ore. — The condemned playground at Josephine County's Tom Pearce Park is about to take its farewell ride, according to a state from the County Parks Department.
A park ranger decided that the structure was unsafe for use during an inspection in early July, prompting the Parks Department to shut it down. Now a community member has volunteered to remove the aged playground.
The playground is set to be taken apart and removed on Monday, November 18.
"The Grants Pass Kiwanis, the Josephine Parks and Recreation Foundation and the county Parks Department are working together and have begun the early planning stages to replace the playground," Parks said in a statement. "Currently, there are no dedicated funds in the Park Department’s budget to replace the playground; however, they have begun fundraising efforts and hope to install a new playground by summer 2020."
The Josephine County Parks Department does not receive any public funding through tax dollars and has been self-funded since 2006. As a result, it has very little budget to speak of for major improvements to the county's parks without donations for the community.
You can make a tax-deductible donation to help fund a new playground through the foundation’s PayPal account.
"It is estimated that a new playground will cost about $125,000 but could easily cost more, depending on the type of play structure and number of play activities," the Park Department said.
The playground at Indian Mary Park has also been deemed unsafe and will be closed down until further notice, the Parks Department said on Friday.
"There are bolts that need to be replaced and a few plastic play parts have visual cracks," Park said. "These findings resulted in the decision to close the playground for now."
Officials will try to work with the manufacturer of the Indian Mary play equipment to see if any of the parts can be repaired, or if the playground will have to be removed as well. Parks said that play structures usually only have a lifespan of 15 to 20 years.
The Parks Department will hold public meetings in January to gather feedback on what the community wants in a future playground at Tom Pearce Park. Anyone interested in receiving notification of future playground meetings can fill out their contact information here, or call the Parks Department at (541) 474-5285.