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City Invests in Kid Safety, Several Playgrounds Closed
Lake Stevens’ new Parks Department targets safety upgrades ahead of a March 2 public meeting on playground closures.
Picture a dystopian hellscape of forgotten steel deathtraps carpeted with broken glass, policed by rabid mongrels and framed by shuffling armies of fent zombies. Rusty barrels filled with trash fires backlight a stark scene: children grimly careening off warped slides into puddles of unknown liquid… as other kids fall through rotten platforms, disappearing forever into dark crevices below.
As you hold that image in your mind, let me tell you what you’ve just become:
A commenter on NextDoor after finding out that a few playgrounds were closed pending upgrades last week.
Now get rid of all that crap because it’s nonsense. Here’s the real story:
LAKE STEVENS - The Lake Stevens Parks and Recreation Department recently completed a thorough safety check of exiting City playground assets — some of which are fairly new City properties, tucked deep in the recesses of massive Lake Stevens developments.
And now, after identifying a few areas of opportunity in the aforementioned play areas, Parks Director Sarah Garceau is asking kids and parents to slow their roll for a bit while playgrounds are closed and investments in safety are implemented.
“It is always a tough decision to shut down a playground, especially several of them at the same time,” says Parks and Recreation Director Sarah Garceau.
As the City continues to grow by leaps and bounds, recent annexations have led to a growing public inventory of postage stamp playgrounds that many residents don’t even know exist — but the City has taken over responsibility for maintaining.
Picture the type of thing that developers throw here-or-there around a couple-hundred-house project, and you’ll have the right idea for today’s topic.
Garceau noted that the playgrounds in need of repair are as much as a quarter century old, smaller in size and located in residential neighborhoods (including The Reserve and Jake’s Place). Parks closed five of these playgrounds February 22, citing safety concerns.
“Children’s safety is extremely important,” she said succinctly.
According to Garceau, four of these playgrounds are gone for good and the other will need to have significant repairs made prior to reopening.
Several additional playgrounds also need repairs, although Garceau says they will stay open to the public. The closed playgrounds will have temporary orange fencing installed and signs posted to let the public know if it will be removed or repaired. Garceau scheduled a March 2 meeting (6 pm, Sawyer Room, The Mill) to address community questions on the subject, which is probably a good idea as J425 noticed a bit of hysterics on Facebook and NextDoor (I know right. Hysterics? On NextDoor?).
Greenwood Village has a sturdy, well-maintained playground area and a sweet half court basketball setup, framed by a gorgeous second growth forest. If Lake Stevens’ hoopers aren’t running 3 v 3 here in the summer, they aren’t doing it right.
J425 visited several of these playgrounds near downtown Lake Stevens Friday, including three located in The Reserve, one at Greenwood Village (near Purple Pennant and Fourth Street NE) and one at Jake’s Place.
If it hadn’t been for the Parks Department’s closure notice, we wouldn’t have known these areas existed. The Reserve playgrounds in particular almost feel like you’re trespassing in someone’s backyard - they’re tucked tightly in between established houses.
On the other hand, the playground at Greenwood Village off of Fourth Street NE was actually pretty impressive and completely new to the J425, despite our decades of Lake Stevens knowledge.
This spot — temporarily closed pending repairs — has a sturdy, well-maintained playground area with a sweet half court basketball setup, framed by a gorgeous second growth forest. If Lake Stevens’ hoopers aren’t running 3 v 3 here in the summer, they aren’t doing it right.
Without exception though, all of the play areas were actually quite decent. The fact that they all seemed to be framed by neatly maintained landscaping is probably a function of the fact that the City’s new Park’s Department is out in force, keeping on top of the upkeep. It least that’s how it seemed. We’ll include a couple pics and a video, make your own call.
All city playgrounds are now scheduled for regular inspections to ensure they remain in good condition.
The city created an official Parks and Recreation Department in August 2022. According to Garceau, “all of the City’s parks received a full walkthrough and have been inspected; maintenance and repair lists have been created and are actively being worked on to ensure our parks are safe, clean, and enjoyable for the public.”
The playground meeting is set for 6 pm, Thursday, March 2 in the Sawyers Room at The Mill. All are welcome. See below for a list of playground closures.