Unless you live in an age-restricted community, chances are good that your neighborhood is home to many children. It only makes sense then to have some type of playground for children to enjoy and where families can socialize together. While playgrounds are relatively low maintenance, that doesn’t mean they require no upkeep. There are several important factors to consider when installing (or upgrading) your HOA community playground.
First, you want to make sure that the equipment complies with any safety standards. Buy from a reputable vendor and conduct regular inspections to make sure that equipment is in good shape. This means checking for cracks in the plastic or wood, ensuring that all nuts and bolts are tightly in place, and there is no other damage or wear and tear. If there is something wrong, the HOA should work to quickly fix it and block off the area until it is repaired so that no one gets injured.
Here are a few other things to consider:
Groundcover. What is the playground situated on? Packed dirt, concrete, and asphalt are not very forgiving. Depending on where you live, there may be guidelines requiring playgrounds to use a soft rubbery material, engineered wood chips, or another substance that provides more cushioning should a child fall. There may even be requirements for the depth of these materials, so doublecheck that your playground meets the proper standards.
Access. In recent years, more emphasis has been placed on creating spaces that are accessible to children of all ability levels. If you are upgrading your playground or starting from scratch, make sure that it is ADA compliant. You can also add additional features that can be used by children with special needs such as adaptive swings. This can make playgrounds safer for all children to enjoy.
Pest control. Do regular checks for fire ant hills, spider nests, bees or wasps, and other pests. Remember that they can hide in nooks and crannies, so look carefully. Then take steps to rid the playground of these bugs and insects as effectively as possible. You can’t keep all bugs away, but you can address immediate dangers.
Regular playground maintenance – from a good power washing once or twice a year to regularly checking for damage – can help keep children safer and prolong the life of your equipment. A property management company like Kuester can help your HOA stay on top of these tasks and look for opportunities for improvement.