Punta Gorda’s Laishley Park playground closed for safety upgrades

A safety shutdown was done at a popular Punta Gorda park because of a danger created by salty, sea air. We spoke to some parents who are grateful the city is acting.

Cory Dugas and his son, Axel, love playing at the parks in Punta Gorda, but they have fewer choices this month.

The City of Punta Gorda closed the Laishley Park playground due to safety concerns.

“The last time I was there, you could tell the playground equipment was definitely older and looks pretty worn,” Dugas said.

The city says the salt from the nearby splash pad, mixed with the salty air from the river, caused sharp, rotting areas on the structure, making it unsafe.

No children were injured, and the city wants to make sure it stays that way. So it closed the park last Friday until further notice.

“It’s definitely concerning,” Dugas said. “But the good thing about it is there’s several playgrounds that we could go to.”

Allyson Faust from North Port brings her son, Eli, to Punta Gorda because of all the activities for kids. She told us the city’s proactive measures make her feel much more comfortable.

“I am very relieved because that just makes me feel like they are addressing concerns that any parent would have as far as safety for our kids,” Faust said.

So far, city staff removed the slide, tunnels and netting and only left the equipment supporting beams, which still show some rust. The city expects to replace the entire playground.

“It just makes me feel that our community is doing everything within their power to make our parks better and safer for our children,” Faust said.

The closure only affects the park’s playground. The Laishley Park splash pad remains open.

“he biggest thing as a parent is the safety for your child,” Dugas said. “No matter what.”

Reporter:Erika Jackson
Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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