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Parents more at ease after city asks for input for Imagination Station Playground

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COLLEGEDALE, TN (WRCB) - Folks in Collegedale left their community meeting Tuesday night with a better feeling about the future of their beloved playground, the Imagination Station.

For the last few months, parents have been concerned they would lose the wooden playground many in the community helped build.  They feared it would be torn down and replaced by plastic.

"The initial concern was that we were basically bulldozing the playground and we are not doing that," said City Manager, Ted Rogers.

The signs announcing a closing date for the imagination station have been removed, while a new plan is drawn up after the community outcry grew louder than city leaders ever expected. Now they are listening.

"Our goal is to get public input and get them the correct information and dispel misinformation," said Rogers.

Fallon Jimenez was one of the concerned parents.

"We were really worried that no more input was being taken and that a decision had been made," said Jimenez

The city brought in Play Core which specializes in playground equipment.

They explained the possibilities in upgrades and allowed the parents to express their wants and needs.

"We were happy to come in and hear what's being presented and understand what may or may not happen," said Jimenez.

But Jimenez says her concerns haven't fully gone away.

She says she's worried about the natural elements of the playground being replaced by synthetic materials in an effort to make it safer.

"Kids are gonna do what kids are gonna do. You don't have to make everything rubber and plastic in order to save them from everything, they're gonna get hurt," said Jimenez.
Rogers says the upgrades will be for the better making it a playground fit for everyone.

"We're gonna make sure that it's safe as possible, address special needs children and special needs adults that work with the children," said Rogers.

He's confident the new look of the playground will be a hit.

"And at the end of the day I think they're going to enjoy the product, it's going to be a mix of the old with the new," said Rogers.

"I'm looking forward to it, I think it's going to be great," said Catherine Price.

"I feel that now that we are at this stage that things can be made better and we will work together and people will be more satisfied with the outcome," said Jimenez.

There will be at least one more meeting where they will discuss the wish list for the playground and how it will fit within the $500,000 budget.

The playground will remain open until plans are drawn up.

They hope to complete the project no later than the spring.

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