What'sup?

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Q: In "What's Up" a couple of weeks ago, you talked about the problem of standing water in the playground area at Rumsey Park. Then I heard (Payson Town Manager Rich) Underkofler say on the radio that they're working on it. I walk there every day, and they're not. There are cattails growing out of that sunken area by the restrooms.

A: If the problem isn't already fixed, it should be in a day or so, Bill Schwind, parks and recreation director, said. "It has been re-engineered and materials have been ordered," he said. "Last I knew, we were just waiting on a piece of pipe to come in."

Q: The swings behind the Rumsey 1 ball field used to have four swings. Now there are two. Are they going to replace the ones that are missing? Our kids sure miss them.

A: The Rumsey swings have fallen victim to a new set of playground standards that Payson's parks need to be in compliance with for insurance, liability and safety reasons. "Swings are only allowed to have two seats per structure now," Bill Schwind, parks and recreation director, said. There is less chance of kids crashing into each other that way.

Schwind said getting things into compliance will take some time and cost some money. "We'll have to go in and retrofit some of the ones we've got," he said.

The recent emphasis on safety came after three parks employees returned from Playground Safety Management School. Among the things they learned:

Most of the new rules focus on "fall zones," providing enough clear space around an apparatus for kids to fall as safely as possible.

Sand, which used to be the playground surface of choice, is just about the worst thing you can use because it compacts over time. "If you use sand, it needs to be fluffed up and maintained on a regular basis," Schwind said. "That's what we're trying to do at Rumsey."

While wood chips are considered a good alternative, the best surface is a nine inch layer of shredded tires covered by a layer of granular rubber crumbs glued together.

For a look at the park of tomorrow, visit Mustang Park in Payson Ranchos. The little park has the preferred rubber surface and meets a lot of the other new standards as well.

Q: What's up with no more picnic tables at the Rumsey Park playground. Us moms with toddlers already have strollers, diaper bags, and snacks to lug over there. Now we're supposed to bring our own chairs?

A: It's a vandalism issue, Bill Schwind, parks and recreation director, said. "We've lost a dozen to 15 picnic tables over the last year and a half, and they cost about $300 apiece," he said. "They make their way into the skate park where they are used as apparatus and end up getting trashed. We've been going through them like water." Schwind said parks personnel have started welding the tables together in groups of three to make them almost impossible to move or throw over a fence. But the long-term solution, he said, is probably going to be permanently installing benches instead of picnic tables.

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