Members of Weissport Council discussed replacing the rubber mulch in the playground with sand as a cost-cutting measure to protect young children from injuries in the play area.
Council president Gene Kershner said that the sand was an approved use for playgrounds and would save the borough a considerable amount of money over the cost of replenishing the mulch.
Kershner said that the present mulch is not thick enough and there is an issue of liability for the borough if a child is injured.
The new playground was installed in October 2009 by a group of volunteers braving mud, wind, rain and cold temperatures. The new playground was designed for children ages 5 to 12, with an area for toddlers
The Weissport Playground has three slides, climbing wall, chimes, bug panels, balconies, bounce buttons, a seesaw, a dino ride and flutter-by spring rider, a tetherball post with a ball, a toss-up, swings with 10 inch high seats, two belted seats, a handicapped accessible seat and a tot seat. There is also a picnic table for outdoor dining and a bench.
The playground cost approximately $60,347. The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) provided a grant of $48,000, plus Concerned Citizens of Weissport raised $10,000 over the course of many years, plus the group received $2,000 from a donor who requested that the funds be used for recreation. The borough provided $2,000 toward the playground.
While volunteers were completing tasks at the playground in June 2009, they found that the mulch contained pieces of metal that should not have been there.
The mulch for the Weissport Playground was supplied by National Sales and Supply – Majestic Rubber, 3800 Marshall Lane, Quad A, Bensalem, PA 19020.
At the September 2010 meeting, Sue Pywar, council vice president, said that the existing mulch would be removed from the playground and would be replaced with new painted black rubber nuggets and the following month, the roll of orange caution fencing that has kept youngsters out of the play area since construction was finally taken down.
In May, 2011, there was a formal dedication and ribbon cutting to dedicate the playground.
Now members of the Weissport Recreation Committee are wondering if when the old mulch was removed, whether it was replaced with the same quantity of safe mulch.
"We've have never seen the invoice as to how much was delivered the first time," said Tammy Solt, member of the WRC. "And when the new mulch was delivered, it came in bulk so we don't know how much was delivered. We know that we ordered the right amount the first time, but whether it was replaced with the same amount we will never know."
Solt was adamant that the borough council not use sand to replace the tire mulch.
"Sand has an issue with cats and then children could get ringworm," said Solt. "That is why we didn't go with sand in the beginning."
Kershner said that sand is a whole lot cheaper.
Solt said that council should consider using the funds set aside for the sand for mulch and that WRC will assist with purchasing more.
Solt said that two tons of mulch would cost approximately $1,294 delivered, while four tons would cost approximately $2,437.73.
"We know the mulch has to be replenished," said Solt. "But don't consider sand until you see what we can do."
Solt said the tire mulch will be ordered from Close the Loop from Lakewood, N.J.
Sue Pywar said that sand is so much cheaper to replace.
Solt continued, "Sand gets wet. It sticks together. It sticks to your clothes." She added that wood mulch was discussed, but has an issue of bees building nests in it."
Kershner said the issue of the purchasing sand was being tabled until council determines the cost of replacing the rubber mulch.
Council also gave tentative approval to the WRC to host the Weissport Redneck Festival in the borough park over the Labor Day weekend. Council asked for clarification on which roads would be closed during the contests before granting final approval.
Pywar noted that she was totally against the tractor races because of liability.
Duane Dellecker, organizer of the event, said that the tractor races were changed to a tractor polo, where lawn tractors will be used to move balls with a broom to cut down on liability.