Wednesday, July 16, 2008

From the "How did we ever survive childhood?" file

Every now and then something comes up that makes ya think "It's a miracle any of us survived being a kid at all." Ya know, like seatbelts. Nobody wore seatbelts as a kid. Shoot, we didn't even sit in the seats - why would we when we could stretch out on the ledge above the back seats?

I'm not sure if this one quite belongs in that same category, but it doesn't surprise me that things are changing. Kindof a bummer though. I didn't grow up in Richardson, but we had this same Rocket Slide in Edmond, OK.

Playground equipment at Heights Park in Richardson to be removed
By IAN McCANN / The Dallas Morning News

RICHARDSON – The Heights Park rocket ship will close for good this week, more than 40 years after children here first climbed aboard.

Because of safety concerns, Richardson city officials will have the outdated but beloved playground equipment removed and put into storage. Michael Massey, the city's parks and recreation director, said city leaders knew the equipment had outlasted its expected lifetime, usually considered to be about 20 years. But until a safety audit was conducted this spring, the extent of the problems wasn't clear. Much of the equipment presents serious dangers, including head entrapment, impalement and entanglement hazards.

"The detailed audit really explained the depth and breadth of the problem," Mr. Massey said.
Though it's unusual for a city to have equipment that's more than four decades old still in use, ever-evolving safety standards often mean that playgrounds don't meet current guidelines.
A few pieces meet current standards and will remain. The city is working with a consultant to design a new playground, but there isn't a firm construction timeline.

The Heights Park equipment is by far the oldest in Richardson. Mr. Massey said the city regularly replaces its playgrounds, but the emotional and historical attachment to the Heights equipment kept it in use. "Heights Park is a special place," Mr. Massey said. "We maintained them to the best of our abilities. The question is, how long should a piece of playground equipment last?"


Juliet said...

Hey, I think we had one of those in Farmer's Branch too. It was fun!

It's a fine line and slippery slope about safety though, because I have a scar on my head from not being in a car seat when I was little. I can still remember being strapped down at the hospital having the stitches done...

So I vote against rocketship removal but for seatbelts and car seats.

Anonymous said...

Was the rocketship in Stephenson's Park--near 2nd and Blvd.? m/g

Juliet said...

I don't think so. I think it was on Morningstar Lane, you could see 635 from the park. Right behind Marsh Lane...

JTH said...

Here's the park in FB...,tx&ie=UTF8&ll=32.921241,-96.857722&spn=0.007601,0.013218&z=16&layer=c&cbll=32.917935,-96.858457&panoid=obvn5gfNBOKmZQsV3oRPQg&cbp=1,536.3693743004217,,0,3.941840754793699

Sadly, the rocket ship is no longer there. Or, maybe happily - depending on how many little kids got their heads entrapped, etc.

psteiner said...

Man! Just came across this on pinterest:) I grew up in Houston and remember going to the Hermann Park and playing at the rocketship there! We have pictures of all us kids in it :) so glad I stumbled across this!