AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — Amarillo’s Parks and Recreation Department is replacing and updating playground equipment at parks across the city, but some parents are unhappy with some of the changes.
Parks and Rec is investing $1.6 million to replace playground equipment at 14 parks. Six parks are already completed, and one is currently under construction.
Parks and Recreation Director, Michael Kashuba, said the new equipment will be installed at 10 parks this year, and the other four will be finished next year.
“The average age of those playgrounds is 26 years old. So that’s, I mean, that’s equipment that is now not meeting codes. It’s equipment that’s now hard to find pieces on, and so we think this is a great thing from our community to get 14 new playgrounds throughout the community installed,” Kashuba.
He also said they have received a lot of good feedback so far.
“There have been a couple of negative comments but generally speaking, the response has been very positive to these improvements throughout the community,” he said.
Many parents have noticed changes in the equipment at Stephen F. Austin Park, which is now mostly for younger kids.
One parents, James Slagle, told MyHighPlains.com his 5-year-old loves the park even more now.
“I think that it’s probably more enjoyable, more safe for them,” Slagle said.
But not all parents are on board with those changes.
“My concern is they took out like the swings and they got baby swings. Okay, what about the other young kids? They like to swing as well,” said Donna Garcia.
Another parent, Kim Thomas, said she has older kids and without that equipment, there’s not as much for them to do at the park.
She also said she is hearing complaints from lots of parents in Wolflin.
“They made the play equipment like, it’s like half the size it was, so not even as many kids can play on it at one time,” said Thomas. “If they’re going to redo the playgrounds, make them better, not—I hate to say worse, but it’s smaller and there’s less for the kids to do. So, with that kind of money, it should have been bigger and better.”
While more of the playground equipment at Austin Park is for smaller kids now, that is not the case at every park.
On Thursday, MyHighPlains.com also stopped by Glenwood Park, which is still under construction, and a rendering of the playground showed equipment for kids of all ages.
When asked if Parks and Rec will consider adding larger equipment back at some parks, Kashuba said that’s something they’re always going to look at.