This playground actually replaced one that was vandalized, burned and destroyed.
The new one was opened about three months ago.
But now the gate is locked with a twist tie and there’s a hand-printed sign that says, “Keep Off, Unsafe, Needs Repaired.”
Now the question is whether it’s deliberate vandalism or a problem with the way it was installed.
It’s an elaborate jungle gym, bright and new, but it’s apparently coming apart.
“The bolts are actually physically coming out,” said Bellaire Councilman Dan Brown.
Parents were constantly finding loose bolts and complaining.
“I asked for proof,” said Brown. “So they turned around and brought the bolts to me. So we’ve got them. Here they are. And there’s no Loctite in them, as you can clearly see. Nothing red or green or any other color. And that’s a problem.”
Bellaire Park District officials say they’ve had the installers come back several times.
“They came back and re-tightened all the bolts,” said Diane Conroy, park district member.
But they’re a bit suspicious that this keeps happening.
“Something’s not right and we need to get to the bottom of it,” Conroy added.
Instead, Councilman Dan Brown went to the top of the structure, and feels that he found the answer.
“Oh my God, there’s no way that this was done correctly,” he yelled down, as he rattled a newly discovered loose bolt in the very top of the structure. “There’s no way that this was vandalism. This is poor construction and we need to put Loctite in them and make sure this is done correctly. You can’t blame kids for playing with things that are clearly falling apart,” he said as he rattled the disconnected railing of a tiny balcony.
He says the equipment was installed during a warm spell, but since then, the ups and downs in the weather may have caused expanding and contracting.
Brown says people have already volunteered to tighten the bolts, and make it safe for children again.
And speaking of children, Brown suspects some of the loose bolts may have gotten some help from little fingers.
“You know anything that’s not locked down tight, kids will play with, obviously,” he noted.
He says people have already said they’d do the work, free of cost to the Village, because their priority is to have a safe place for children to play.