Parents complain about broken toys |

Parents complain about broken toys

Jennifer Davoren

Aspen Parks Department officials have fielded a few complaints concerning a truckload of playground equipment abandoned in front of the Yellow Brick School.

The toys and equipment, removed in September when the city began renovating the school’s playground, have spent the last five months in storage at the James E. Moore Pool. Susan Arenella, operations manager for the Aspen Recreation Department, said the equipment was loaded into a dump truck and hauled back to the school last week as the Moore pool began its own renovations.

The school houses the Early Learning Center, the Aspen Skiing Co.’s Kid’s Club, Mare’s Playground and the Waldorf School. School officials have received calls from concerned parents who passed the uprooted equipment when dropping off or picking up their children, said Patric McLaughlin, director of the Early Learning Center.

“It raises the hair on some parents because it looks like a pile of trash,” she said.

McLaughlin said school officials also became concerned when they noticed toys had been broken during transport.

“They were brittle plastic and stored in the cold. In dumping them, they did break over half of them,” she said.

Arenella said she received complaints about the toys and visited the school to check out the problem for herself.

“There were some broken toys, but they were older, used toys,” she said.

Ed Sadler, Aspen’s asset manager, is overseeing the playground renovation. He said the equipment was in disrepair when construction workers were asked to remove the items from the renovation site.

“They were broken long before that,” he said. “All we did was help them move them out of our way.”

After assessing the damaged items, the parks department hauled the toys away from the school Thursday.

McLaughlin said she wasn’t sure if the school would be reimbursed for equipment broken during the moving process.

“It’s hard to say, because the city is doing this wonderful thing already in providing us with this playground,” she said.

The playground’s finish date is set for June 1, and Sadler said construction will resume as the weather warms.

“They won’t start working until it dries out,” he said.

When completed, the renovated area will include a larger playground, a community basketball court and special areas for Yellow Brick programs.

“It’s going to be beautiful. It’s a wonderful gift from the city,” McLaughlin said.

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