Henrico addresses hot park equipment at Twin Hickory - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

Henrico addresses concerns over hot park equipment at Twin Hickory

HENRICO, VA (WWBT) -

Lots of families come to Henrico's Twin Hickory Park, but there's a slight problem - there's no shade. On hot days, some of that playground equipment can reach more than 100 degrees.

There are signs warning parents to be aware the surface does get hot, but parents want answers as to why shade wasn't built in the first place.

September has already proven to be a scorcher. At the park, most of the playground equipment is just too hot for little Betsy Leone.

"It's too hot," the two-year-old told her mom after she tried getting on the seesaw.

Some parents have expressed their concerns to county park leaders. "This is a wonderful addition to the area," says Angie Fairman, who was enjoying the park with her son. "But there's no shade, it is very hot to be out here with the kids."

Henrico's recreation and parks director Neil Luther say crews were aware during the building process that the park would get full sun. We asked why having shaded areas wasn't part of the building process.

"With this layout, there's no way to keep live trees embedded into this area or any way to work with the woods that were around here," says Luther.

Moving from the water area to the playground, the heat isn't kind to little bare feet.

"This whole cement area, there's nothing here," says Fairman. "It would be great to have shade here."

Luther says the equipment meets federal standards, but it can still feel hot to the touch, reaching more than 100 degrees. He points out that there are many playgrounds, especially at schools, that are fully exposed to the sun.

For parents, Luther says to feel the equipment on a hot day, especially if you have a toddler.  Toddlers don't have the motor skills to recognize heat and move away.

Luther says there was a rush to get this park open by July, but there are plans to build canopies and another covered picnic area. He says right now, the county is trying to see what funds are left to build it.

"We have every intent to come back here, this playground is not finished yet," he said.

There are two certified playground inspectors on staff who check all playgrounds in the county every month.

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