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Letter From the President

Friday, November 2, 2001

Playground Equipment

The playground equipment story began over a year ago when the City of Dayton hired Rogero Buckman Architects (RBA) to select the design and color of playground equipment for many parks throughout the City. At that time the City was able to allocate funds to update and replace aging park playground equipment throughout Dayton. One of our Trustees who works for RBA was able to convince the lead architect on that project to secure a color and equipment layout preference from the OHDS Trustees before making a recommendation to the City. Last year the Trustees selected, and RBA recommended to the City an appropriate color and equipment selection for Newcom Park. The City accepted the recommendations and, we assume, paid RBA?s invoice for consulting services.

Orders are placed for park equipment from the approved bidder list in the fall for installation the following summer. This summer the City began to install park equipment in all parks scheduled to receive new equipment. When the City began installing park equipment they ignored the recommendations made by RBA. The manufacturer shipped the correct equipment as ordered; however, the City failed to install the correct color and park equipment layouts in each park. Now that most of the installations are complete, we are aware that few parks received the proper equipment.

Immediately after the City began to install incorrect equipment at Newcom Park, the Trustees agreed to stop the installation and investigate. In e-mail vote the Trustees agreed to ask the City to remove the partially installed equipment and to reorder the equipment as originally specified. Many concerned citizens expressed their displeasure at that decision and requested a public hearing on the subject.

At the October 9, 2001 meeting Trustees in public forum heard statements from the public and voted to take action as summarized:

  • Request that the City replace the equipment with the correct color and layout
  • Or, complete the installation of the existing equipment
  • And, accomplish either within 60 days

Representatives of the Trustees met with City officials on October 11 to present their case. On October 17 Trustees again met with City officials and learned that the City acknowledged their mistake and would reorder the correct equipment subject to City Council approval. On October 31, the City Council approved the order that was then placed on November 1. The City has confirmed that the new equipment will be installed before December 9.

The Trustees realize that for some this is a trivial issue. More importantly, for others the stop work order imposed by the Trustees deprived many families with young children of the use of playground equipment for nearly six months. Even others have commented that at this time of crisis in America we should not concern ourselves with such minutia. Nevertheless, the very reason many of us chose to live in the Oregon District in the first place was because we recognized and appreciate the collective efforts of community leaders who took possibly unpopular stands and tackled what seemed to be trivial issues in the past to create the collective environment we enjoy today called the Oregon Historic District. As President of OHDS, I apologize for the inconvenience suffered by families who have not been able to use the park as they would like and I am gratified that the City recognized their mistake to help us maintain the highest standards for the Oregon District.

Respectfully submitted,

Russ Gilmore