Tot Treat: New Playground Equipment On Way

The play structure outside of the Upper St. Clair municipal building has been a fixture for two decades. A replacement is coming this fall.

Getting a bit dirty seems like a good tradeoff for a great place to play.

That’s how Valerie Reagan views it when she visits the tot lot at the with her two children. Sure, the protective mulch makes for some laundry challenges.

“But the equipment is very nice,” she said on Monday afternoon as her son climbed, slid and crawled on the multi-faceted structure that serves as the playground's centerpiece.

Her daughter hasn’t started walking yet. But around the time she does, she and her brother will have something new on which to play.

Upper St. Clair commissioners voted Monday night to approve a contract to replace the structure, which has been a fixture outside the municipal building for two decades. The components, while still are safe and sound, are beginning to show their age.

The replacement will be a bit less scuffed, but it hardly represents a radical departure for the children.

“It appears to be similar to the structure that’s coming out, with various upgrades for ADA,” said assistant township Manager Mark Mansfield, referring to federal Americans With Disabilities Act compliance.

Sports and Recreation Associates of Apollo, Westmoreland County, will supply the new apparatus, which costs $42,000. The township’s department of public works will install it in the fall.

The department also will take care to remove the existing structure.

“We’ll investigate the value, if some other community can use it,” Mansfield told commissioners.

For older children—and adults, too—Upper St. Clair resident Gary Paul asked commissioners Monday about the feasibility of constructing an outdoor facility for playing hockey on inline skates. He said such activities take place at a couple of township parks but without ample room.

“You can only have a game with three or four skaters, then it becomes too crowded,” he explained.

Russell Del Re, board vice president, explained that the commissioners’ main objective is to hold the line on taxes. But he said Paul and other supporters are welcome to raise money toward a hockey court, citing the privately financed examples of the and the recently opened .

“The township has tended to work with people in that respect,” Del Re said.

He and fellow Commissioner Nicholas Seitanakis also thanked Upper St. Clair residents for volunteering to serve on various township boards and committees. That followed the commissioners making these appointments:

  • Zoning Hearing Board – Leo Jon Grogan; Gregg Zegarelli and Robin Weissert, alternates
  • Library Board – Doreen Hurley
  • Planning Commission – Todd Burlingame
  • Building and Fire Codes Appeal and Advisory Board – Robert Stevens Jr.
  • Youth Steering Committee – Susan Speer

What are your thoughts on the plans for a new municipal playground? How about a roller hockey rink for the township? Tell us in the comments.

B June 05, 2012 at 11:02 PM
Newsflash, things get old and need replaced. 20 years for a playground is longer than the expected life of the playground. Next thing you know people will complain that we replace police cars, or that the dump trucks are going to be replaced every year at a cost of $125,000 each. If you have a problem with the budget, then read it, go to the budget meetings and voice your concerns. This expenditure was already in place well before this contract was awarded.
william atwell June 06, 2012 at 01:15 AM
I can not believe this township uses mulch thatnmakes washing clothes harder to do! The outrage in this! And on other notes, I do think parents forget what it was like to be a child. I have been to a lot of the parks looking, and I am very impressed with the upkeep. The biggest waste of money is the pool they built! But on a side note vehicles need to be replaced, I work in public safety and one of my ambulance has 230,000 miles on it! At the inline skate people, I will be happy to donate $20 to that! Just so when I take my kid to shoot hoops we are not ran into anymore.
Lynne June 06, 2012 at 03:52 PM
...rust, grime and peeling paint...oh my!! So, do you sell your house and buy and new one every 20 years. Or... do you sand, clean, paint and maintain it so you don't have to??
B June 06, 2012 at 04:34 PM
I am not going to get into a banter about a depreciable asset and expected lifespan of equipment. Not everything works like a house does, you can't always just throw a coat of paint on something. At some point, the cost of renovation is more than the cost of the asset itself. By your straw man logic, our police officers would be driving the same cars they bought 20 years ago, I mean you just do oil changes and repaint them when they get old right? Surface lots, basket ball courts, fields, and on and on. At some point, you can't put lipstick on a pig and need to replace these things.
Jane Jones June 11, 2012 at 05:06 PM
If the structure is 20 years old, it no longer meets the coded requirements by ASTM as these were changed in 2009. By ASTM, public playgrounds are not allowed to have equipment that is rusting, peeling paint, protruding bolts, etc. that are accessible to the children. Therefore, this equipment must be replaced if the township does not want legal liability.


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