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Chain-link fences block entry to Sea Canyon Park’s playground. The city is currently evaluating newly installed rubber-playground mulch that has drawn the ire of many local residents. The park will remain closed until further notice. Photo: Jim Shilander
Chain-link fences block entry to Sea Canyon Park’s playground. The city is currently evaluating newly installed rubber-playground mulch that has drawn the ire of many local residents. The park will remain closed until further notice. Photo: Jim Shilander

By Andrea Papagianis

Residents and city staffers gathered at Sea Canyon Park on Wednesday evening to discuss freshly installed loose, rubber-playground mulch that led to the play scape’s closure.

“We had some resident feedback on the surface and we wanted to meet with them and address their concerns so that we can use a material that is suitable and safe for the children utilizing the playground equipment,” said Kevin Evans, the city’s director of Community Services and Parks.

Residents have asked the city to replace rubber mulch, like this pictured at Thunderbird Park, that was recently installed at Sea Canyon Park’s playground with sand or another material. Photo: Jim Shilander
Residents have asked the city to replace rubber mulch, like this pictured at Thunderbird Park, that was recently installed at Sea Canyon Park’s playground with sand or another material. Photo: Jim Shilander

The city recently removed sand from the park’s playground, which is tucked in a residential neighborhood off Acapulco Drive and Golden Lantern, and replaced it with a rubber-composite material made from recycled steel-belt tires. A similar material was also installed at the city’s Thunderbird Park.

But after a young neighborhood resident got a puncture wound from metal bits in the rubber, residents raised their voices, said Susan Rouse, a 25-year Sea Canyon neighborhood resident. The city heard them.

Chain link fences have since gone up around the play place and Wednesday’s meeting brought nearly 50 residents together. Aside from the material’s quality, which residents believed contained more metal pieces, attendees brought up issues with a lack of public input into the mulch being installed, Rouse said.

The city may replace rubber mulch with a solid rubber composite much like what is currently installed in the park’s musical/noise area. The playground will remained closed for the time being.

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