Officials say equipment damaged during removal, now ‘scrap metal’
After being taken down, the playground equipment at the Yucca Recreation Center was deemed unfit for reuse.
The Roswell City Council voted 8 to 2 in August to demolish the approximately 108-year-old Yucca Recreation Center building at 500 S. Richardson Ave., as the new Roswell Recreation & Aquatic Center is tentatively set to open in July.
Jim Burress, the city’s Parks and Recreation director, said the play equipment — which included swings and a play system — is valued at approximately $38,000. The intention was to move the Yucca’s play equipment to El Capitan Park at 2800 W. Alameda St., Burress said.
“But playground equipment is really overseen now as far as safety and regulations and standards — and removing that playground did not lend itself to be reinstalled,” Burress said. “So we’re in the process of trying to figure out how we’re going to replace that playground and who’s going to pay for it. That’s where it’s at.”
Bill Morris, the city’s community development director, said he is exploring options to replace the play equipment.
“The removal caused some damage to some of the components,” Morris said. “They’re heavy pieces of steel basically encased in concrete at the base — but a lot of them got damaged.”
Gabriel Cobos, a resident of Roswell for 35 years, said he noticed the absence of the play equipment a couple of weeks ago. Cobos said he was told by Mayor Dennis Kintigh that the equipment could not be reused. Kintigh confirmed this statement to the Daily Record.
“The contractor was supposed to remove it in a way that it was useable at another location,” Kintigh told the Daily Record last week. “That did not happen. The director of Parks and Recreation, and myself and the city manager were not happy. We’ll call that the understatement.
“I do not know what the resolution was with the contractor. I try to stay out of those, but that did not happen like it was supposed to.”
A Roswell company, Custom Construction & Roofing LLC, had the lowest bid for demolition of the building, at $91,043.66.
But a separate contractor, GWC Construction of Lovington, was the low bidder for the playground removal and relocation. The quote for removal of the playground was $10,567.66.
A GWC employee strongly disagreed with the accusations of damage to the play equipment, saying the equipment had been removed and relocated to a new site, but each pole was covered in concrete after the excavation. The employee said the city used a backhoe to move the play equipment into a pile.
Burress said the playground equipment was delivered on a trailer by the contractor to the “parks lot” at 212 E. 12th St. After this, Burress said the contractor left “a bunch of scrap metal” that was formerly the playground equipment and drove away. Once it was determined it couldn’t be reused, Burress said parks staff moved what had been unloaded with a backhoe.
“The only reason I am concerned is because, growing up as a kid, I went there,” Cobos said of the Yucca Center. “My mom went there as a kid …
“He (The contractor) needs to be responsible — and he needs to make good and put some equipment on one of our parks that needs equipment. That would only be fair.”
City/RISD reporter Alison Penn can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 205, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.