TALLMADGE — Youngsters who visit Lions Park will soon get to test new playground equipment.

Jessica Simons,  the city’s Parks and Recreation superintendent, says July 13 is the tentative date for the playground to open. At press time she reported the installation of a pour-in-place rubber surface was anticipated on July 9; however, she noted that is weather dependent.

Lions Park is a 24-acre site which can be accessed from West Garwood Drive and Northeast Avenue. Gone are two large wooden structures, one for 2- to 5-year-olds and another for 5- to 12-year-olds, on which several generations of kids have played. They were removed at the end of last summer due to safety concerns, Simons reports.

"They were about 25 years old so they were just kind-of getting broken down," she says, adding, "some of the wood was rotting. It wasn’t really a safe place (to play) any more. Pieces had fallen off … and we were kind of getting nervous about some of the structural integrity of it."

New structures have been installed featuring both stainless steel and plastic elements, one for 2- to 5-year-olds and another for 5- to 12-year-olds. The larger structure features a climbing wall and a few more slides than the previous one had, according to Simons. Approximately $185,000 was allocated this year in the Parks & Recreation Department budget for the new playground equipment at Lions Park, she says.

In another safety-minded move, she says, the playground equipment was removed from Washburn/ Indian Hills Park last year. Water had seeped into plastic covering the metal playground unit there, Simons says, causing "some rather large cracks." That playground equipment will be replaced later this summer at a cost of about $40,000, she reports. Washburn/Indian Hills is a 5.5-acre park with access from both Maca and Indian Hills drives.

Simons says the city boasts nine parks and seven of them have playground equipment. One of her duties is to visit them to assess the condition of features ranging from basketball courts to benches to slides. Currently the department is updating its master plan. 

Reporter Ellin Walsh can be reached at 330-541-9419, ewalsh@recordpub.com or @EllinWalsh_RPC.