Palm Coast to install shades over park playgrounds

By Brittany Jones, Flagler County Reporter
Last Updated: Tuesday, April 18, 2017, 9:53 PM EDT

After hearing from concerned parents, the city of Palm Coast is moving forward with a plan to stop children from getting burned on hot playground equipment.

  • Palm Coast adding shades over four playgrounds
  • Hope to keep the playgrounds cooler, so more children can use them

"It's not protective -- there is no shade, even when, look around now, you don't even have a spot that's covered," said Carmen Stanford. 

The sun beamed down over the Seminole Woods Neighborhood Park Tuesday afternoon, as Stanford took her daughter onto the playground.

"It's a great place to bring your kids for a couple hours, but it has to be covered. It must be covered," said Stanford.

Stanford thought her only solution was to avoid bringing her 8-year-old daughter to the playground when it's hot outside.

"Over the years we learned not to even come here, it was just too hot. Not just the slides, but essentially she couldn't touch anything," said Stanford.

But now the city of Palm Coast has got a grip on the problem, as the city council voted to add "shade sails" over public playgrounds, starting with four parks including Seminole Woods, Waterfront Park, Belle Terre Park and Ralph Carter Park.

Councilman Nick Klufas said parents have been complaining for quite some time about their children being burned on hot playground equipment, with equipment temperatures sometimes reaching more than 100 degrees.

"Using park equipment is essential for them to be able to use our facilities. When kids could go to a park and get burned by going down a plastic slide in the heat of the summer, it's discouraging for parents, also it makes it potentially dangerous for kids. If we want parents to take their kids to our parks -- parks we maintain to a very high quality, but they're essentially unusable -- we're spending money on something people can't use," said Councilman Nick Klufas, District 3.

He said the shades will shade the equipment from the sun and lower the temperature of the equipment so that it is usable and comfortable for the children.

The shades will cover approximately 2,900 square feet or more of the areas on the playgrounds.

"Hearing what they did today, my initial thought was 'it's about time, it was about time,'" said Stanford.

The project will cost more than $400,000, but for safety and the enjoyment for her little girl and others children, Stanford said it's priceless. 

"I think regardless of the cost, something needs to be done. It needs to be done for the current generation, for the next generation, Palm Coast is growing, there's lots of families moving here. I think this is a must for the children, regardless of cost. For their safety and for the long term as well," said Stanford.

The council said part of the cost covers a 10-year warranty. The project is expected to be completed by this September.