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Playground funding approved

April 02, 2002|BY JULIE E. GREENE

julieg@herald-mail.com

After talking about getting new playground equipment for more than a year, the Sharpsburg Town Council approved funding for the project Monday night.

The council voted 4-0 to spend approximately $20,000 on equipment, including some spring toys, a swing set and two toy storefronts for the playground next to Lonnie L. Crampton Memorial Park. The cost includes mulch for a bigger area, making it easier to maintain, Councilman Russ Weaver said.

The equipment from Miracle Recreation Equipment Co. in Martinsburg, W.Va., is expected to cost $20,248, Weaver said. Installation would have cost an extra $9,425, but town officials are going to see if the Washington County Buildings, Grounds and Parks Department will install the equipment for a smaller fee.

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Town officials have been discussing new playground equipment since early 2001, but the project kept being delayed.

Some residents attending the meeting questioned the wisdom of investing thousands of dollars in new playground equipment when the town has a continuing problem with vandalism at the current playground.

Town officials will explore some security options before the next council meeting on May 6, Weaver said. Possibilities include lighting and a security camera.

Councilman Ralph Hammond and resident Jennifer Silbert had a brief argument concerning security after Silbert questioned the investment given the vandalism problem.

"We're not going to move the playground," Hammond said. "You either have it or you don't."

Hammond said the vandalism problem ceased briefly when town residents took it upon themselves to show a presence at the playground and deter vandals. Since residents have stopped that effort, the problem has returned, he said.

Vice Mayor Hal Spielman said a Washington County Sheriff's deputy checks the playground occasionally, but no one can be there all the time.

Some other residents offered possible solutions, which council members said they will explore.

Council members Patti Hammond and Marjorie Jamison also were present. Mayor Sid Gale and Councilman J.W. Eichelberger were absent. In Gale's absence, Spielman presided over the meeting and therefore had no vote, he said.

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