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New Playground Jungle Gyms to Be Installed in Wilson Park

Swing Sets Already Built After Summer Vandalism

Mineola’s Department of Public Works announced on Aug. 4 that new jungle-gyms will be installed at Wilson Park. The village will be purchasing two new sets for the park. The new structures will have a combined cost of $40,612.

The plan calls for one of the jungle gyms to cater to 2 to 5 year olds, while the second playground system will lend itself to 5 to 12 year olds. The board of trustees awarded the project to Louis Barbato Landscaping Inc. last week as the lowest qualified bid of $29,000.

The Wilson Park playgrounds were put in about 17 years ago. The manufacturer no longer makes the playground equipment that’s currently in the park and it can no longer be repaired. The village is in the process of replacing them.

The process of replacing the playgrounds will take a few weeks as it means taking out the equipment, putting in new flooring and building new playgrounds.

According to Public Works Superintendent Tom Rini, the safety structures for playgrounds were installed in 1993. He said the play structures at the time were state of the art, but that it’s not the case any longer and it needs an upgrade.

“Time has taken its toll on the playground and I think it’s great that these new systems are going to be put in,” Rini said.

Rini stated that the current systems installed at the park are not “modular systems” meaning that the parts can be pulled apart and be replaced to fit the needs of the park. The new equipment, which is being provided by Landscape Structures Inc., on the other hand is a modular system. In looking at that and meeting with representatives from Landscape Structures, which is also a safety inspector of playground items, Rini said the village realized the equipment is outdated.

Both of the playground structures are listed on the New York State Office of General Services (OGS) contract list, which in turn saves the village time and money. The items, in being purchased off a state list, negate the issue of going out to bid.

“The benefit of these systems is that if a component of these systems fails over time, we will have the ability to go back and replace the parts,” Mayor Jack Martins said. “They will be installed some time in September after the pool season. There’s quite a bit of construction that is involved with this.”

When installing these types of systems, the village will use certified installers to protect the children and prevent future lawsuits. The safety surface that will be implemented will be designed in a way that it can’t injure anyone.

This past June, the playground fell victim to vandals, who bent and tore up the swing sets. The swing set at Wilson Park was heavily damaged and was removed.

“It’s incredible that this is actually 20 or 30 yards off of Westbury Avenue,” Martins said of the night of the incident. “It’s lighted and you can certainly see it from the street. Whoever did this had enough time to take their time in terms of wrenching this thing.”

The steel of the swing set is fortified, which baffled the board as to how the vandals could have done this without tools or weapons. A new swing set is available at Wilson Park for recreational use.

Martins said the board met with the Deputy Inspector from the 3rd Precinct and surveyed both Wilson and Memorial Park. The mayor added that the precinct agreed to patrol regularly through both parks during the night to negate any further vandalism.

“If someone is doing this as close to a lighted area in open view, they certainly feel awfully comfortable that they’re not going to get caught,” Martins concluded. “So we have gotten assurances that the police department will patrol the area to stop people from doing things like this in the future.”