Department of Parks, Recreation & Waterfront
Parks Planning and Design Section
April 3, 2002
From: City of Berkeley Parks, Recreation and Waterfront Department Brad Ricards; Landscape Architect
Subject: JOHN HINKEL PARK PLAYGROUND EOUIPMENT MEETING
Meeting was held at the Scout Club House, John Hinkel Park, from 7—8:30 P.M, on March 20, 2002. Community Members present: See attached Meeting Attendee List
City of Berkeley Staff: Lisa Caronna, Director, and Brad Ricards, Landscape Architect, Parks, Recreation and Waterfront Dept.
Enclosed is a summary of the items we discussed at this meeting. Please review the information for its completeness and accuracy and let me know before April 16. 2002, if this information is not consistent with your understanding of the items we discussed.
The City described the State of California regulations (adopting the Consumer Products Safety Commissions Guidelines for Playground Safety) in effect requiring playgrounds to be upgraded for safety and accessibility. The City is interested in keeping John Hinkel Park the way it is, but it must take action to address potential risk and liability issues associated with the playground equipment. In general, the playground equipment is unsafe because it lacks sufficient fall-absorbing material beneath
it. Usually, a 12" thick layer of loose-fill material—such as wood chips or sand, and a way to contain it, is placed beneath playground equipment for fall-attenuation purposes. A significant amount of
excavation and grading, including the possible construction of retaining walls (possibly battered "earth" walls), may be required in order to create the level space needed to contain this material Few level areas exist in John Hinkel Park. Local funds are not presently alloeated for improvements in John Hinkel Park (and not expected to be budgeted for at least 3 or 4 years). The City is addressing playground safety and accessibility upgrades in all of its parks; priorities are based on the availability of funds ($150,000 per year) and the severity of risk and amount of use criteria.
1. A unique feature about the John Hinkel Park playground equipment is that is it old—and that the pieces are separated; New equipment seems to be bright colors and made from plastic, lacking the "old look" characteristics. Typical solutions where the play equipment is grouped in a central place is not appropriate for John Hinkel Park.
2. New equipment needs to be appropriate for children of all ages.
1947 Center Street, Berkeley, CA 94704 Tel: 510.981.6435 TDD: 510.981.6345 Fax: 510.981.6390
April 3, 2002
3. The existing equipment is located with great views. It is fun to kick the tree branches while using the swings.
4. It would be helpful to review proposed solutions and know more about the costs associated with possible new work.
5. "Use at Your Own Risk" signs ought to be investigated as a possible option.
6. The school-age and tot swings, the slide, and the see-saw are "must haves". The trapeze may be removed. The spring riders are liked (Note: These are considered safe with proper fall- absorbing surfacing).
7. This is a neighborhood park; children of all ages come here.
8. Installing replacement equipment in other "terrace" areas in the park, where more level space exists, may be an option.
9. The use of the amphitheater should not be impeded if the use of the parking area on Southampton Place is further studied.
10. It is not clear why "now" is the time to address this park's playground equipment?
11. Does "fixed-in-place" resilient surfacing (i.e. rubberized surfacing) installed on a slope provide effective fall attenuation?
12. It would be helpful to know if, and how playgrounds on sloping sites were addressed in other locales.
13. A "grandfathering-in" clause, which seeks to exempt current State requirements, ought to be investigated.
14. Provision for disabled-accessibility is pertinent for any new development, including the proposed renovations to the Club House. The City will further investigate the applicability of these requirements in John Hinkel Park.
15. Interest was expressed to have another meeting.
16. NOTE: Based upon further review on site, and based on the prospect that some funds may be allocated for this work, staff is optimistic that places could be found in the park for new playground equipment. However, the equipment would need to be relocated or shifted in its current position and some site leveling work would be need to be performed. Staff is interested in having a meeting on site to review such proposals.
Cc: Meeting attendees (see attached) Lisa Caronna, Director
End of Summary