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July 12, 2013

City conducting assessment of Aunt Char’s Kid Zone

GREENVILLE — The City of Greenville has retained Freese and Nichols, Inc. to conduct a precautionary assessment of Aunt Char’s Kid Zone which is located within the Greenville SportsPark.

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) was used to construct the playground. Numerous similar playgrounds were constructed in the DFW Metroplex. Several cities in the area are conducting similar studies to verify that these types of structures do not pose a health risk to users.

“We care about the health and safety of the citizens of Greenville,” said Interim City Manager Massoud Ebrahim, “we want to be certain that the facilities provided to them are free of all possible hazards.”

Since the original construction of the Aunt Char’s Kid Zone, the City has maintained the playground structure and surrounding areas in accordance with industry recommendations. Wooden surfaces with frequent contact by users have been replaced with recycled composite boards. Remaining treated lumber is sealed and mulch underlying the playground structure is replaced annually.

To conduct the assessment, Freese and Nichols will collect 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. The firm has extensive experience with site investigation and risk assessment for recreational facilities in Texas.

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