Iconic Rockland County playground closing

October 26, 2010 2:25:24 PM PDT
A playground that has been around for decades in Rockland County is being closed.

It's not being closed because it is broken, but because of insurance reasons.

It has people who helped build the playground angry and disappointed.

"Just sad to see it go. Excuse me," said Christopher Minehan, a Nanuet resident.

He's 70 years old, but Christopher Minehan comes to the Highview Playground almost every day.

It's his baby.

"Voluntary labor, we built it. And we collected funds, $60,000 for materials and such," Minehan said.

That was done 20 years ago with a lot of pride and hard work.

It's wooden and designed like a castle.

Now, the Nanuet Board of Education wants to demolish it based on safety concerns by its insurance carrier.

The district donated the land for the community playground and bears the primary responsibility of maintaining it.

Minehan tried to explain this to his 8-year-old grandson.

"He was crying. He was on the edge," Minehan said.

The district admits this playground is an icon, but says it's also a liability.

It's hard to supervise children because there is no direct line of sight because of all of the nooks and crannies.

The district said it spent $50,000 several years ago to refurbish it, but says there are still tripping hazards, the swing frames are weak, and it's hard to get replacement parts.

There's also a splinter warning posted, but the district says no one has ever been seriously hurt.

That's what makes the decision so hard for some to understand.

"I think for insurance purposes, they're closing it. And it's sad," said Rachelle Schneider, a parent.

"It's bad news for my kids, they love this place," said Mark Vacanaj, a parent.

A kids' castle that is now quiet, empty, and may soon come tumbling down.