Stonington closes playscape at Town Dock playground; footings rotted

Stonington closes playscape at Town Dock playground; footings rotted

reporter photo

By Catherine Hewitt

Sun staff writer

>xBodyText<STONINGTON — Town officials are deciding when and how to replace the wooden playscape at the Town Dock after signs of deterioration were found in the footings last week.

Officials will meet Friday to discuss the options, and swift action is of the essence, Rich Ward, recreation administrator for the town, said Thursday.

“We’re all on the same page that we need to do something quickly about it,” he said.

While the playscape is cordoned off with yellow tape and traffic barriers provided by the highway department, the playground is open and the other playground equipment is safe to use.

“The exercise equipment that was just put in is in perfect condition,” Ward said. “The swing sets and two or three pieces around the playscape are all fine. That’s why the park is still open.”

Ward said officials were checking the life expectancy of the playscape but said salt water was likely a factor contributing to the deterioration of the structure.

“Even if you put a pressure-treated wood into your fence and you put a fence pole down, it’s eventually going to rot,” he said.

The problem was discovered by a child who was digging in the wood chips around the playscape footings last week, exposing the rot in the post, First Selectman Rob Simmons said Wednesday. “The Public Works department has the capacity to take the equipment out of the playground but it involves some expenditure to replace” the playscape, he said. “The initial discussion was that we might be able to fix it but the ultimate decision will be to replace it — it’s just safer for the kids.”

The Stonington Village Improvement Association raised funds for the construction of the playground and the playscape in 2003, but it was unclear who would pay for the new equipment and removal of the old playscape.

A notice on the town website asks residents to “respect the caution tape and barriers in place and stay off of that specific equipment at this time” and states “We thank you for your patience as we work through further inspections and plan out subsequent repairs.”

For more information about the playscape, call 860-535-5015 or check


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