In today’s world, it can feel like there are controversies brewing all the time. Impeachment trials, climate activists vs. conspiracy theorists, and the occasional Oklahoma Democrat saying anything; yet, there’s one local controversy that rockets to the top.
Via The Edmond Sun:
A rocketship slide once designed as a modern play item to capture the imagination of children at Stephenson Park will have a new mission.
The Edmond City Council recently approved a contract with Freese and Nichols Inc. to design services related to the Stephenson Park redesign project. The vote was 4-1 for the $29,780 increase to the previous budget for services at South Littler Avenue and East Fourth Street.
The increase is to relocate the rocketship, said Mayor Dan O’Neil as he produced a photo of his granddaughter on the slide. O’Neil said he is disturbed that the city has decided to move the rocketship to another area of the park and remove the slide portion.
I don’t plan on being a grandfather for at least another 40 years or so, but I can see Mayor O’Neil’s sentiment. I’d be upset too knowing my granddaughter wouldn’t be able to play on the same dangerous playground equipment that I did when I was a kid.
City Parks and recreation Director Craig Dishman said the rocketship will be moved to the northeast corner of Stephenson Park to create an iconic art piece. Lighting and new paint will accentuate the piece, he said.
“Some other communities across the country have done the same thing with this piece,” Dishman said.
The 50-year-old historic icon of the city of Edmond has become obsolete, Dishman said. The manufacturer would deem it unacceptable for today’s safety standards,” Dishman said.
So Mayor O’Neill’s entire temper tantrum is based around the fact that the jungle gym rocket ship is going to be safer and relocated to the other side of the park? According to the park’s website, it’s only 3.57 acres. You’re complaining about having people drive to the other side of the park to play on a safer rocket ship without a slide?
At this point, a 50-year-old obsolete rocket ship is the perfect metaphor for Mayor O’Neil’s argument: They’re both unique ways to spark conversation among locals but, ultimately, are things that are in serious need of an upgrade. I wish I could live in a world where a playground rocket ship was the worst hardship I had to face.