BANGOR, Maine — The dilapidated condition of some of the equipment on the playground at Bangor’s Fairmount School had some nearby residents concerned, but as part of a regular process, officials are already swinging into action to fix up the facility.
Of particular concern were a couple of metal picnic tables which were severely off-kilter or had exposed, metal edges.
“Someone accidentally backed into one of the tables after a Little League game with their car and it was at a 45-degree angle, and another one was half buried,” said Betsy Webb, Bangor school superintendent. “None of them are level anymore. They are very hard to keep level because of frost heaves over the winter.”
So rather than try to repair some of the damage, the plan is to remove all five tables — due to safety concerns — before the start of the school year on Sept. 4.
“The rubberized coating on the top of the tables is wearing off,” said Ryan Enman, Fairmount School principal. “This playground gets a lot of daily use, even after school’s out.
“Right now, the rec department is using our facilities as part of their summer program, kids come over and use it while they’re playing Little League games, and it gets use from a lot of neighborhood kids too.”
The Bangor Parks and Recreation Department also will be doing other work, including replacement of a swing, installation of new handles on a glider, and replacing all the wood chips spread on the ground under all of the equipment.
“This was work that had already been requested by our principal,” said Webb. “Our normal procedure is before school opens, or at the end of the school year, we review our facilities and list what work needs to be done to get things back up to standard.”
While parent-teacher organizations and booster clubs help out on playground expenses and volunteer work, playground upkeep and work is the responsibility of the school department.
“Certainly our PTO’s have been extremely supportive in raising funds for things like renovating or maintaining our school playgrounds, particularly with volunteer work,” said Webb. “That’s extremely helpful to us when our budgets are getting tighter and tighter every year.”