Park to become pirate playground

Thunderbird Park Playground revamped to comply with child safety laws

By Martial Haprov
SUPERVISING EDITOR

The playground at Thunderbird Park is set to become a pirate land.

The town closed the playground on Wednesday to make improvements and ensure it’s compliant with new state child safety laws, according to town spokeswoman Kathie Martin.

“Sean Hagen, our parks supervisor, is a Certified Playground Safety Inspector and stays on top of all laws and regulations in the industry,” Martin said in an email Friday. “A recent update to the guidelines directed agencies to upgrade equipment older than 15 years to comply with the newest standards.”

In the case of Thunderbird Park, the equipment was previously built with square beams but the state’s standards now require them to be round.

The park’s new playground equipment will resemble the front of a pirate ship with Jolly Roger flags and a captain’s bridge, Martin said.

The town is making the improvements thanks to Community Block Development Grant funds, Martin said. The town’s Community Development Citizens Advisory Committee suggested the park receive part of the grant funds last year.

“Improvements to parks and recreation facilities is one of the allowed uses for these federal dollars,” Martin said. Since it’s the grant is federal money, the project has to meet the same requirement as other CDBG uses, including benefiting an underserved community and, in the case of being a park, being located within an area designated by HUD as having a higher percentage of families below the median income.

Martin pointed out the money the town is using for the Thunderbird Park project is not related to the funds available for social services.

“Of the total annual CDBG grant from the feds, we may grant a maximum of 15 percent to social services,” Martin said, “then the remaining funds are available for other projects.” Those projects have to meet a series of guidelines and go through an application process before it hits the council dais for adoption.

The park is slated to reopen Friday.

For more on the improvements, visit the town’s website at www.AppleValley.org.

Martial Haprov may be reached at (760) 951-6236 or at MHaprov@VVDailyPress.com.