SALT LAKE CITY — One of the last metal merry-go-rounds in Salt Lake City will get safety upgrades thanks to a family fighting to save the rusted steel structure.
Injury concerns have led to plastic and padding replacing older metal structures like the merry-go-round at Lindsey Gardens, the Salt Lake Tribune reported (http://bit.ly/2cXD8BT).
Phoenix Ostermann, Kelly Stevens and their 12-year-old daughters Mabel Bates and Teddy Stevens collected over 400 signatures from people who oppose scrapping the structure.
“We’ve grown up with it our whole lives,” Mabel said.
“Everyone in the Avenues we talked to don’t want it to leave,” Teddy said. “This park is the oldest one in Utah, and it’s had all sorts of merry-go-rounds, so it’s a part of history.”
They took action after the play area was fenced off and plans posted for new plastic equipment excluded the merry-go-round.
“This was shocking,” Ostermann said. “We didn’t know there was going to be this huge change happening.”
They took their concerns to city hall and public services director Lisa Shaffer, who confirmed the hunk of spinning metal is among the city’s last.
“They were really open to our ideas,” Teddy said, “and they seemed like they really wanted to save the merry-go-round.”
The merry-go-round will go into storage until funds are raised for repairs, including a mechanism to control speed and paint to keep the metal cooler.
“I don’t think new is necessarily better,” Ostermann said. “People perceive merry-go-rounds to be unsafe, but I think they’re really important for child development. Kids need to take challenges and risks in order to have a safe childhood.”
A Consumer Product Safety Commission report found merry-go-round injuries were fewer compared to playground injuries resulting from swings or slides. The repaired merry-go-round will be placed in a different area of the park.
“When we have the money to restore it,” Shaffer said, “we’ll put it back in.”
Mabel says she is confident the group can raise the estimated $26,000 to repair the structure.
“Everybody in the neighborhood is really passionate about it,” Mabel said. “We can do bake sales, yard sales. … I’m still not the biggest fan of the playground they’re putting in, but I’m happy they’re open to the idea of changing it and saving the merry-go-round, so that’s the big thing.”
Information from: The Salt Lake Tribune, http://www.sltrib.com