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September 4, 2013

Council to receive KidZone report

GREENVILLE — The Greenville City Council is scheduled next week to receive the results of an assessment of chemicals used in the construction of a popular local playground.

In July, the city retained Freese and Nichols, Inc. to conduct a precautionary assessment of Aunt Char’s KidZone inside the Greenville SportsPark.

“We have gotten that assessment back,” City of Greenville Public Relations Liaison Autumn Barton said Tuesday, adding that the report will be presented to the Council at the September 10 regular session. “As soon as they make their decision as to what they want to do ... then they will release it to the public.”

The play area was constructed in 2002 by local residents and the City of Greenville Parks and Recreation Department and named for an anonymous donor who contributed $80,000 toward construction. In 2006, the playground was rebuilt, again primarily by volunteers.

Wood treated with a preservative called chromated copper arsenate (CCA) — a mix of chromium, copper and arsenic — was used to construct the playground.

Numerous similar playgrounds were constructed in the DFW Metroplex, using the same material.

Barton said several cities in the area have conducted similar studies to verify that these types of structures do not pose a health risk to users.

“The State of Texas doesn’t have official limits,” Barton said.

To conduct the assessment, Freese and Nichols collected wipe samples from wooden surfaces and soil samples underlying the structures. The Freese and Nichols team expects to complete the sampling in one day. Playground activities and usage will not be disrupted during sampling.

Freese and Nichols, Inc. is a full-service professional consulting firm, and provides other services to the City of Greenville.

A portion of the Aunt Char’s has also been closed to the public since a fire damaged the playground early on the morning of May 12.

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