my post in response to mamas resisting park playdates because of shredded tires lining the playground:
"i guess i'm probably odd man out, but...
i personally don't have much of a problem with the shredded tires. i've heard all the research about the toxins, but we don't go to such parks often enough for me to be concerned. i've never had headaches, clothing stains, or stink issues from it either. my biggest complaint about it is the pieces that get into my shoes (and my kids usually end up barefoot at these parks. it really is a shame, because i personally find both san felasco and squirrel ridge to be great parks, with lots of room to run around and trails to walk, etc. i have no problem taking my kids to those two parks on occasion.
and btw (slightly OT tangent here), i was wondering, if the shredded tires are so toxic, why are they still there? anyone who's been in g-ville as long as i have may remember KidSpace, a REALLY awesome playground that was THE place to play in this town once upon a time. when they discovered toxins in the wood (or the ground, or something -- i was young), they promptly closed it and tore it down. i am wondering why this has not happened to the shredded tire playgrounds??? (or at least why they haven't proposed replacing the shreds with mulch, etc.)
sandy playgrounds have just as much risk of exposure to toxins, imho. cats poop in the sand at night and leave a toxoplasmosis buffet available to any random toddler. remember the issue at the alachua splash park where a cat tracked contaminated sand into the water area, and it cycled through the sprinkler thingies and got abunch of kids really really sick?? i bet there are some of you that said immediately that you will NEVER take your kids there again. not me. i have to trust that the city took care of that, and my children and i are looking forward to frequenting it again this summer.
and creek-stomping. my kids love it. again, i've seen the research and determined that the risk is low enough in the areas that we stomp in that i am STILL willing to allow them to do it. it's not like we do it every day, and ya know, even if we did, i still wouldn't be too worried. we have a drainage ditch behind our house on 2 sides. that is a place that i do not allow my children to play. but pollution/toxins aren't even the main reason for that. it's the extra garbage that gets thrown in there, the fact that it's a deep ravine (and thus a trip/fall risk), and it's impossible for me to supervise it from my own property without climbing a tree (and then how am i helpful if someone needs me?). but there have been times that i've gone down there with them to catch minnows for the fish tank.
i just can't justify depriving my children of a well-rounded outdoor experience just because of these things, because you never know what's going to be deemed toxic next. pretty soon there will be NO more "non-toxic" play places in the world. next thing you know, rum island or ichetucknee will be found to be full of polutants and people will freak out if they find out you go there.
maybe it's the tomboy in me, maybe the gainesville native in me, maybe it's because i became a mom at a young age and therefore never really "grew up". maybe i'm just plain ignorant... whatever you want to call it. we just can't live in bubbles. it is absolutely impossible to avoid exposure to toxins. we can make our homes and cars and diets as toxin-free as possible, but the rest of the world will never be "safe".
also, i DO have a problem with Hampstead. i feel uncomfortable there, because it is private property and i'm about as far from a Haile housewife as i can get without missing most of my teeth and playing a banjo. plus, there are no bathrooms, and the thought of anyone (including adults) having a bathroom emergency and then either having to drive from the middle of nowhere to a gas station or knock on some stranger's door...kwim? i've only been there once with the twins club, and it was horribly awkward. not to mention that it's located deep inside a huuuge neighborhood that's easy to get lost in. and about 25 minutes from me, in GOOD traffic. but maybe that's just me.
so, it's obious that some of us disagree about the locations. as there will always be some objections to anything, i vote to just keep it as it is and those of us who are willing to skip a social because of where it is held may do so. honestly, i won't skip a Hampstead social, since it will only be once this year. but i won't attend regular playdates there."
response to my above post:
"Just because something hasn't gotten shut down, that does not mean it's safe. And it's one thing to be willing to accept certain risks for yourself and your children, but to go on that people who choose to be more conscious of these things than you are depriving their children of a well-rounded outdoor experience or living in a bubble is not fair, and frankly just plain rude."
and my retort:
"i certainly didn't mean to imply that others are depriving their children of anything. it is, of course, each family's prerogative to decide where they prefer or don't prefer to go, and for whatever reason. i am simply expressing MY views; that i'm not as worried about these things as many of you are, and if that makes me seem irresponsible (or rude for saying so), i apologize. my kids (and i) get bored with the same old parks -- there was a point not too long ago when the mention of going to possum creek was met with a chorus of "NOOO! not again!!"... and thus, we haven't been there in a while.
so i like to mix things up. and it has become obvious that things need mixing up in GAP, so forgive me if i am increasingly frustrated with the fact that attempting to plan GAP events has been met with resistance in some form or another, and this is yet another example of that (the toxin issue, that is). so i got going on a tangent about it. sorry, i truly meant no offense. i suppose i should save such expressions of frustration for my personal blog.
and i was definitely not trying to be a sassafrass; my question is completely in ernest -- WHY haven't they removed the shredded tires if they are so harmful? is there something that can be done about that?"