By Christina Derr
Residents of Springtown who have play equipment in their yards will now be required to anchor those items to prevent them from causing damage or injuries during incidents of high wind and severe weather.
The Springtown City Council voted Feb. 22 to adopt an ordinance that requires owners of play equipment to properly anchor them to the ground.
One citizen, and a current candidate for city council, Josh Light addressed the council in opposition of the proposed rule.
Light said, “I have two small children at home, and I have playground equipment. It is my responsibility as a homeowner to anchor my equipment.”
Light went on to say that in the event that his playground equipment comes lose and damages someone else’s property it is his responsibility to make restitution to the owner.
Council member Michele Kelley stated that her concerns go beyond property damage to public safety.
“It is a public safety issue. If your trampoline is not anchored down and gets picked up by the wind and hits an electrical line that can cause a problem.
“If it is flying like a saucer down the road and hits a car that is driving, that is going to be a public safety issue,” Kelley said.
She also said that Springtown’s geographic location predisposes it to incidents of high wind and tornadoes.
Chief of Police Tony Motley, who has a background in emergency management, said the question comes down whether the city has a “compelling interest” in requiring residents to secure their playground equipment.
Motley said that one of the identified risks in Parker County is high wind and straight-line winds.
The chief said that over the last five years there have been 48 recorded instances of severe winds, thunderstorm winds, or tornadoes causing $984,000 in damage.
In addition to the risks of winds, Motley said professional play equipment organizations recommend anchoring equipment to prevent injuries to children from the equipment tipping over.
Motley listed other areas where the city has compelling interest to regulate other property issues such as wells and fences.
“I believe we have a very strong case for a compelling interest in the city of Springtown for anchoring playgrounds – particularly trampolines,” Motley said.
The chief said that he is looking into having anchoring equipment donated to help those who may not be able to afford properly secure their equipment.
Mayor Pro Tem Dennie Harms said he felt the ordinance was an overreach of government. “However, when you accept a seat at this table, you have to leave your personal feelings outside and we do have a compelling interest if saves just one life, the ordinance should be adopted.”
The ordinance was adopted by a 4-0 vote; Council member Greg Hood was not present.