The National Trail Parks and Recreation District recently received a grant from the Springfield Foundation to update safety features in some Springfield playgrounds.
The $8,500 grant will go towards fresh fall protection at six of the district’s 13 playgrounds. In this case, the district uses a sand surface with 12 inches of mulch and wood chips that sits under the playground equipment.
“You need to have a certain amount of safety surface so that if a child falls, they don’t get hurt,” said Executive Director for the district, Leann Castillo.
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The fall protection needs to be replaced every couple of years due to normal wear. The money went towards replacement at playgrounds at Veteran’s Park, Virgil A. Mabra Park and Davey Moore Park.
Fall protection is common in most communities. Castillo said the district has staff certified in playground safety, and fall protection helps the district meet safety standards. In most cases, installation takes less than a few hours.
Castillo said the district is fortunate to have been awarded the grant every time they’ve applied for it over the last 10 years. She said the extra money allows the district to focus on other projects, while maintaining their commitment to safety.
“It’s a good thing for our community, and it saves us money in other areas,” she said. “We just want to make sure that everyone who is visiting our parks feels that it’s a safe place to be and fall protection under the playground equipment is just one more thing we can do.”
Springfield resident Carolyn Anderson-Roberts said she’s been bringing her grandkids to Veteran’s Park for years. She said she’s glad to see money going towards kids like her two-year-old granddaughter, who loves the Cinderella pumpkin carriage and the swings.
“It makes me feel good about things,” she said. “I know they’re not going to get hurt.”
The parks district has already applied for the grant for next year to install fresh fall protection in the remaining playgrounds the district services.