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Talking about parenting: Focus on community engagement is commendable

Chris Kovatch

I wanted to take this week’s article as an opportunity to thank our Orange City Council members and city staff.

The city was faced with the difficult decision on how to approach the disposition of the Lions’ Den playground. Safety was the utmost concern, as it should be, and the playground was removed.

I know there are a lot of feelings tied to the structure. This playground was a community-wide endeavor and therefore pride and attachment to the structure was to be expected. I helped build it as a senior in high school, so I had a vested interest in it as well. In the end, the best decision was made.

Now as we consider the future of the park, there is much to look forward to. The city allowed feedback from citizens and organizations as part of the development process. This is one way that the decision to retain parts of the old playground and utilize in the landscaping of the new one came to be.

The designs that the city provided for residents to review represented every comment that was made during the workshop. From inclusiveness to the structures being open and lending to easy monitoring of kids, all areas were considered and built into the plans.

The city then allowed for feedback from the community on which design was preferred and then they quickly moved to approve the design and move forward.

This level of transparency and focus on community engagement is to be commended. I have lived in other cities where feedback was not considered, let alone solicited.

I look forward to the eye-catching color scheme to start appearing on the park grounds. I am thankful for the commitment to kids and their safety.

Finally, I am grateful that we will have another structure that we can take pride in and where generations of kids can have fun.

I regularly hear people comment about what Orange doesn’t have, but perhaps we should change our perspective and realize and be thankful for everything we do have. Change does not happen overnight, but it is quite evident things are on the upswing in Orange.

 

Chris Kovatch is a resident of Orange County. You can reach him at news@orangeleader.com