As one playground opens, others remain closed from Sandy - NBC40.net

As one playground opens, others remain closed from Sandy

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As we continue to look back on Sandy one year later, there are still several public recreation areas in Atlantic City that remain damaged.

The students at the Chelsea Heights School have been without their playground for months, after it was damaged and deemed unsafe after Hurricane Sandy.

One student shouted, "I'm glad to have it back because it's so fun to play on it!"

Principal of the Chelsea Heights School, Kenneth Flood, said, "Well there was a time as we were going through the revitalization that it was not available to children.”

On Thursday morning, members of Atlantic City Council and the CRDA unveiled the newly renovated playground to the students. Mayor Lorenzo Langford said, “This is just one step towards making this area more friendly for our young people and giving our kids something extra to do in this part of the city."

But while children on the southern end of Atlantic City may have a playground to call their own, children on the other side of the city are still playing catch-up.

The playground in the Oscar E. McClinton Waterfront Park was flooded during Sandy last October. Bill Reinert, Department Head for Atlantic County Public Works, explained, "We have had a couple of complaints about, ‘When do we get to use it?"

While the rest of the park remains open to residents, Atlantic County officials say a 6ft fence was put up in September to keep kids from entering the playground, but more importantly, to keep them from getting hurt.

Reinert said, "When Sandy hit, the waves came through and lifted up a lot of this rubberized material and washed a lot of debris underneath. You can see with the humps and along the edges, it has been lifted up and created tripping hazards and the safety is in question."

County officials say they have a claim in with FEMA to repair the surface, but say the total cost of playground repairs could be between $70,000 and $80,000.

Reinert added, "The goal would be to have it open by this spring."

The Chelsea Heights playground is just one of several CRDA funded projects aimed at improving recreational facilities in the city, such as playgrounds and community centers.

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