City Of Tulsa May Consider Increasing Playground Inspections

Monday, May 9th 2011, 3:38 pm
By: News On 6

Emory Bryan, News On 6

TULSA, Oklahoma -- A Tulsa city council member wants more information about how often the City of Tulsa inspects playground equipment at its parks.

Tulsa County has a methodical process of routine and in depth inspections that is not happening at City parks.

The disparity has come up before a child gets hurt, in fact, it came out of talks between the City and County about sharing resources.

The City of Tulsa has a few brand new playground sets, like the one at Florence Park. Everything is new at this playground, but years of cutbacks to the parks department means that problems show up in a lot of other places.

It didn't take an expert inspector to find problems at Lantz Park where sharp, rusty bolts stick up where a bench used to be; where the tire swing has sharp pieces of steel poking out, and where plain old rust is taking a toll.

"It's troubling to me to find that someone somewhere else in City Hall thought this was all a budgetary issue and let this slide," said Tulsa City Councilor GT Bynum.

Bynum believes it might be a matter of proper inspections, which the City of Tulsa does far less often than Tulsa County.

Read Tulsa County's Park Inspection Form

"The safety of children should never be a budget issue, there's always going to be a way to find, to fund a position like that," he said.

The City of Tulsa checks playgrounds only when a mowing crew is going to the park - while Tulsa County checks each playground once a week, regardless.

"We inspect them with our parks maintenance staff, every week, on Fridays," said Richard Bales, Tulsa County Parks Director.

Tulsa County also hires a certified inspector to go out at least once a year, with special equipment, to check it over with an expert eye. But they still check everything, once a week.

"We don't find something every week, but that's not the issue. We may go months and not find something and that's fine, but we look at them all the time to make sure that they're safe," Bales said.

The City has far more parks and playgrounds than the County and is busy replacing equipment, but the questions are being asked about maintenance, which in places, isn't keeping up with the problems.

See a list of improvements being made to Tulsa parks

The council will discuss the issue Tuesday.