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Park sets priorities

June 25, 2013 Letters to the Editor

Andrew Daniels wrote (June 11) criticizing the condition of the playground at the Highfield Community Center, implying the cost to maintain the playground will be minimal.

Unfortunately that is not the case. There are requirements for a public playground that differ from a backyard play set.

The amount of rubber mulch necessary to satisfy the requirements for this project is cost prohibitive.

Approved wood playground mulch is more economical, but it is not cheap. To be in compliance, we would need 100 cubic yards of mulch, along with Geotech fabric and drainage installed as well as the required labor. The cost would approach $3,000.

The Highfield Community Association receives no government funding and all of the projects we undertake, including the maintenance of the playground, must be paid for on a case-by-case basis.

Unfortunately, there are many competing demands and the playground is currently down on the list. If Daniels looked closely he would see that the putting green also needs maintenance. This area was used by many of our members (me included) and residents of the community, but it is also lower on the priority list. Both the playground and the putting green are routinely vandalized by people who take advantage of our generosity. Frankly, we are growing tired of providing something free of charge to people who do not appreciate it — and then being chastised when it is no longer provided.

The Highfield Community Association had planned to sell some property to the Clement Baseball Academy. It was our intention to use the proceeds from this sale to do necessary maintenance on our facilities. Unfortunately Daniels and several others have been vociferous opponents of the Clement Project and the sale has not occurred.

If Daniels would like to spearhead a fundraising effort dedicated to playground maintenance, I’m sure the board of directors at the Highfield Community Association would be willing to listen to his ideas. Like many other organizations, ours is dependent on volunteer labor. There was a time we could get 30-plus volunteers to show up for a project; now, we are lucky if we get 10. When he spoke to me last year he asked if he could do some work at the playground. I told him it would be not problem, but that was the last I heard from him.

If Daniels and some volunteers who feel strongly about the playground canvassed the Highfield area, they might be able to come up with the necessary funds to maintain the playground. There is no need to stop at my house since I will personally pledge $100 to the cause. Daniels and the people who opposed the Clement facility have spent significantly more than the cost of maintaining the playground opposing the Clement facility. Once they purchase 100 cubic yards of mulch, they can let us know and someone will show them where to dump the mulch.

The board of directors of the Highfield Community Association welcomes the opportunity to discuss this with Daniels any time.