City employees took down a portion of Pioneer Frontier Playground early Tuesday afternoon for safety reasons, officials said.
The demolition activity created a stir on social media, with residents concerned that the entire playground was being dismantle without notice.
The social media stir caught East Ridge Mayor Brian Williams’ attention, prompting this post:
“UPDATE on Pioneer Frontier Playground – There was one element of the playground that was very dangerous and beyond repair and is being removed today. The entire playground is not being removed at this time. We will definitely inform everyone of the timing when the reconstruction is planned and the City will definitely take the fencing and salvage of the playground in consideration at that time.”
During Mayor Brent Lambert’s administration the city announced that its insurance carrier had deemed Pioneer Frontier as unsafe and a liability. City officials at the time said the playground, which was built by volunteers in 1994, was beyond its useful lifespan. Officials said there were documents from the insurance carrier to back up the assertion.
When citizens asked to see the documents, the city never produced them.
At about that time, an entity was interested in developing the McBrien School property which included Pioneer Frontier. Then-City Manager Andrew Hyatt said that the playground was not for sale.
More than two years ago, city officials announced that it intended to build a new playground on the site, including a splash pad. The cost was $1 million. Citizens pushed back on the idea of getting rid of Pioneer Frontier which was near and dear to many families who volunteered their time to build the facility.
In a story published in March of last year, city officials said the new playground would be completed by the spring of 2020. Obviously, that has not been the case.
Here’s a link to the March 2019 story: