The wooden castle playground at Lions Den Park will be demolished soon, but some of the “iconic structures” will be saved and worked into the landscape of a new park.
The Orange City Council Tuesday during a teleconferencing meeting approved the demolition. Public Works Director Jim Wolf gave the plans to save remembrances of the playground after District 3 Councilor Terrie Salter asked whether any of the structure could be salvaged.
The unusual meeting method was because of the county judge’s order to limit all public and private gatherings to a maximum of 10 people because of the covid pandemic.
Those present at the meeting included Mayor Larry Spears Jr., District 2 Councilor Brad Childs, District 4 Councilor Mary McKenna, and Position 6 Councilor Paul Burch.
District 1 Councilor Pat Pullen, District 3 Councilor Terrie Salter, a Position 7 Councilor Caroline Hennigan were on the phone conference.
Several city department heads were phoning into the meeting. Those on phones included city attorneys Guy Goodson and John Cash Smith. Members of the public and news outlets listened.
Mayor Spears gave citizens a chance to speak during the comments part of the meeting, but no one could be heard speaking on the phone line.
The meeting did not go without glitches. As the public and city staff waited on the teleconferencing call they could hear frequent coughing on the line and background noises.
Eight minutes after 5:30 p.m., the designated start of the meeting, the attorneys on the call asked about what was going on. Mayor Spears said the meeting had started and the council just heard a report from a Chick-fil-A spokesperson.
“Nobody heard any of that,” Attorney Smith said, but the mayor said they were on item 6 and continued the meeting. Item 6 was the first business besides routine things like praying, saying the pledge, and approving the minutes.
The park has been in the city’s focus recently after an engineer’s inspection earlier this year found the playground, which is about 20 years old, unsafe. The city closed it immediately.
The city has $547,000 budgeted for parks improvements and the council is looking at using the money for a new playground.
Orange Mayor Larry Spears Jr. said the mayors in the county are following the lead of the county judge for decisions involving community response to the covid pandemic. He said the judge and mayors could make an announcement on Wednesday concerning more action.
Spears talked during a teleconference city council meeting Tuesday evening. The public access phone conference was because of gathering regulations ordered because of the virus.
City Manager Mike Kunst said the city wants to assure city employees receive their salaries even if they do not work during the time of a disaster declaration.
He also stressed that essential personnel, like police and firefighters, earn more if they have to work during a disaster.
The council approved an amendment to the personnel policy to assure the pay schedules during a pandemic.
“Every disaster is different,” Kunst said.
-Margaret Toal, KOGT-