Why I’m Not Voting For Your Playground

Last year, tragedy struck my neighborhood: a local boy was found hanged in the park across the street from our house. He had been playing with a climbing rope, and speculation exists whether a bully was involved. Even though I didn’t know this child or his family, I do grieve with them for their son’s loss.

Last weekend, Aaron and I came home to find a flyer on our door, asking us to vote on the Pepsi Refresh website for a memorial playground in the open field across the street, which has been zoned as a city park for decades. Maybe it’s selfish, but our first reaction was, “Hell, no.”

Let me explain why…

A few years ago, a local middle school had their football practice in this field. We had to deal with this for two years in a row, so we have some idea of how a gaggle of kids (and their parents) can affect our quiet dead-end street.

1.) Parking.

When the middle school kids had to be trucked out to our neighborhood for practice, their parents’ vehicles clogged up our street atrociously. I would come home from work around 5:15pm, and would frequently have to wait in the street for an SUV to realize that, yes, I need to get past you to get into my driveway. Parents would also park their cars unnecessarily close to our driveway, and across the street from our driveway, so that when Aaron would leave for work a half hour later, he’d have to do ridiculous maneuvers to get our compact car backed out of the driveway and into the street.

Our tiny neighborhood street can’t handle any sort of large crowd of kids and their parents without dedicated parking areas. Especially since the plan for this playground is to have it built in one day, I’m wondering whether the issue of parking has been considered. I can’t find any layout plans on the KaBOOM website associated with this project, so I can’t say with any certainty whether or not a parking lot is on the agenda.

2.) Garbage.

It’s bad enough that, thanks to the wind patterns of the Midwest, we get everyone’s trash blown into our yard already. Add to that the litterings of children (and, again, their parents), and we’re going to be running constant garbage interference during all the good-weather months. Unless city workers or volunteers clean up the park on a regular basis, this has the possibility of being a major annoyance.

3.) Property Damage

During the two years that the football team practiced and scrimmaged across the street, there were multiple instances of kids climbing our trees when we weren’t looking, parents hitting our mailbox with their giant vehicles (see Parking, above), and our trash cans getting molested in various ways. Luckily, none of the damage was severe.

4.) Noise

I can deal with the happy noises of children playing, despite not having children myself. (My husband isn’t too happy about early-morning frolicking, though, since he works nights.) However, I have it on good authority that where there are basketball courts, there are often booming bass and loud, obnoxious teens. Again, not something I’d like to deal with. (Edit: since there are no plans posted online that I can find, I have no confirmation of whether or not a basketball court is planned for this space.) One of the major reasons we chose to buy this house several years back was the isolation and solitude, and I’d hate to see that change.

Some of these are self-centered reasons, yes. But they’re all honest opinions. If these concerns can be sufficiently addressed, and city park planners of some sort are involved, then I’ll be happy to support the development of a park area. But not until.

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