As the summer season for school children starts coming to an end, two of the borough’s major playgrounds – Acker Park and Aldene Park – are both missing some popular features including the jungle gym bridge, swings, ADA swings, and spring riders as well as repair to the flooring.
On February 21st, there was an incident at Acker Park where a child on the bridge and lost her balance and went through the gap between the railing and the bridge, according to multiple eyewitness accounts. The incident resulted in a compound fracture for the child. The very next day another child fell and injured their eye reportedly and paramedics were called.
In March, the municipality’s new insurance broker was conducting a physical audit of all government equipment and property. A major recommendation was to remove the bridge at Aldene Park. It has been disclosed that the bridge at Aldene Park was found to have some cracks in the bolts that connect the bridge panels to the jungle gym platform. The recommendation from the insurance company was to remove the bridge and close off the platform as a precautionary measure. In further review, according to a source familiar with this matter, it was determined that since both pieces of equipment were purchased at the same time, the bridge at Acker Park should be removed as well.
There was no public mention as to whether the recommendation to remove the equipment was related to the incidents in February or as the result of an independent physical audit of borough inventory. In either scenario, the bridges were removed for insurance purposes. Since then two large pieces of wood have been placed at both ends of the bridge crossings at both parks.
Now, five months later, with school about to start in less than a month, there is no bridge at either playground. Also missing is the Wally The Whale spring rider and a swing at Acker Park.
According to some who have called the Department of Public Works (DPW) and their council representative, parts that would adapt equipment were on order.
Information obtained by Roselle Park News has revealed that replacement parts for Wally The Whale were hard to find since that particular model is no longer in production. A company was finally contacted that found the parts needed in one of its warehouses. According to sources, all that is needed is for the purchase request needs to be signed so that the company can ship the parts and the DPW can repair and replace the ride.
The bridges have not been ordered as of yet and, as of yet, there is no estimated time frame as to when the repairs and replacements for any of the playground features will be done. According to sources, the borough’s engineering firm Neglia Engineering has stated that they would like to look over the whole project which would include replacing the flooring. The engineering firm also reportedly needs to determine if the DPW or an outside contractor will do the work on the bridges once they are delivered.
All the paperwork for the order of the spring for Wally The Whale as well as the replacement of the ADA swing is ready and waiting for approval by the engineer, according to those familiar with this matter. According to an unnamed source, “DPW cannot move forward with anything to do with [the project] until the borough engineer gives the go ahead.”
The next municipal meeting where residents can inquire about this matter is tonight, August 16th, in the Roselle Park Municipal Complex. The meeting has a start time of 7 p.m. but the public comment portion where residents can ask any questions that are not on the agenda is at the end of the meeting. The Roselle Park Municipal Complex is located at 110 East Westfield Avenue.