Goodrich Park equipment to remain off limits in Braidwood

THE PLAYGROUND EQUIPMENT at Goodrich Park in Braidwood will remain taped off until fall at least. Vandals damaged the equipment in 2021, but supply chain issues and material shortages have put the Braidwood Park District’s replacement order on delay. Photo by Marney Simon.

Marney Simon

Goodrich park on Maple Street has sat idle throughout the spring and summer, unable to play host to neighborhood children who hope to play on the park equipment.

Members of the Braidwood Park District Board of Commissioners said unfortunately, things don’t look to get better any time soon.

The playground equipment at Goodrich Park has been taped off since last fall, after it was the target of vandals.

In September 2021, grounds crews were performing routine inspections of the playground equipment at the park when they discovered several large holes in both sets of metal steps and large top platform of the play structure. The damage appeared to be deliberately created by some type of blunt force object or torch and were large enough for a child’s foot and leg to fall through.

After filing a criminal report, the district got to work on replacement, working with their insurance company to hammer out cost and a time frame. The costs for necessary replacements will still total an estimated $24,300. After paying the insurance deductible and having the park assessed, insurance would cover approximately $15,740, leaving the remaining $8,560 to come out of the district’s Park Improvement fund.

But even after getting all those items figured out, the district got hit with a supply chain issue delay.

On Aug., 6, the Board released new information on the status of the repairs, which unfortunately means the yellow tape will stay up a few more months.

“We have been informed by the manufacturer that the estimated delivery and install date for replacement parts has been pushed back until November 2022,” the board said in a statement. “Due to supply chain issues and backups on other playground orders, the original delivery date of July was not possible. This is very disappointing to us as it is to all of the residents and children who frequent this playground; however, it is out of our control at this point.”

The message continued that park districts across the country are facing similar issues with backorders and delays for replacement parts and entire playground sets.

The district said making the necessary fixes themselves is too big of a liability gamble.

“We would have loved to see this playground be able to re-open for use and enjoyment throughout the remainder of the summer, however, with the hazards and damage that exist and the liability involved, we cannot just make a homemade fix or patches. If we were to try and fix or patch the damage ourselves and someone was to get injured because of it, the liability would fall back on us completely,” the statement continued.

“We know that there will be residents who will not accept this as a valid reason or understand the liability behind it, but, as a Board we can not and will not deliberately do something on purpose that will knowingly place our district, our tax payers or ourselves in direct liability. We appreciate your patience and understanding in this matter,” the Board continued.

The playground equipment remains taped off. No charges have been made regarding the vandalism, and the case remains open.