The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

May 23, 2013

Pittsburg crews work to repair storm damaged Schlanger Park

By Andra Bryan Stefanoni

PITTSBURG, Kan. — City crews using heavy equipment spent Thursday cleaning up Schlanger Park after a storm tracked through Monday night.

The park has been closed to the public since the storm and will remain closed through at least Saturday, according to Parks Director Kim Vogel.

“We would have liked to get to it sooner, but our crews were needed around town clearing trees from roadways as that was the first priority,” Vogel said. “It definitely needs to be useable by Memorial Day. We have shelters reserved, and the trees are blocking the restroom facility.”

City employee Kenny Nordyke used a backhoe Thursday morning to load downed elm, oak, cottonwood and cedar tees into a truck. He estimated the storm toppled at least 30 mature trees, many of which were 75 years old or older.

“It’s just a real shame,” he said. “A real shame.”

The park, which is in the center of Pittsburg between Fourth and Sixth streets, is the third oldest in the city, said Vogel. It also is a popular destination with a newly built Frisbee golf course, two shelter houses, a walking path, a children’s wading pool and pool house and a skate ramp. Earlier this month, crews installed the first portion of a multi-use playground and intentionally chosen a site that didn’t necessitate taking down any trees.

“They’re down now,” Vogel said.

The trees narrowly missed the swing set, but the storm did flip a portion of the steel skate ramp at the park’s northern edge. It, too, is off limits to the public until further notice.

A city crew was making plans to have a wood chipper in place on Sixth Street at the edge of the park, and it will remain in place through next week to serve the public.

“We will be chipping up wood that’s there at the park to save us time from hauling it off, and the wood chips will be available to the public for use around garden areas or beautification projects,” Vogel said. “It will be there all next week, too, and we will allow a site there for folks to haul limbs to if they have limbs down on their property.”

Vogel also said there are plans to plant new trees at the park from the stock in the city nursery, but the timeline is uncertain.

On Tuesday, May 28, Pittsburg city workers will start a sweep of city streets to pick up downed limbs. Parks Director Kim Vogel is asking those who have them to move them to their curbs by Tuesday.