Riverside’s Department of Parks and Recreation received a gift from Riverside Township on March 9, when township trustees voted to grant up to $10,000 to the village for the purchase of playground equipment.
Ron Malchiodi, program coordinator for the department, said the money will be used to replace seesaws at Blythe Park and Harrington Park. In addition, a climbing apparatus will be installed at Blythe Park and an ADA-accessible scoop will be installed in the sand area at Harrington Park.
On the day Malchiodi appeared before the township board, a guard rail handle broke off a slide at Blythe Park, making it unstable. The money will also be used to repair that piece of equipment, Malchiodi said.
Without the grant, Malchiodi said, the playground equipment at Blythe Park would likely have been closed.
“If it was unstable or unsafe, we’d have to deem it unusable,” Malchiodi said. “Luckily, we didn’t have to address that issue.”
On March 3, Malchiodi filed a $20,000 grant request to Riverside Township, which has discretion to award grants on an annual basis for township programs, senior citizen services and youth programs.
The initial grant request also asked the township to fund tennis court resurfacing at both Blythe and Harrington parks and for fence replacement at Harrington Park. The township, however, focused on replacing the playground equipment.
“To me and the board, the children’s playground equipment – the kids will be out there real soon if not already, and we’d hate to see a kid have to get 10 or 12 stitches” because they were injured on a broken piece of equipment, said Richard Tuscher, Riverside Township supervisor.
Malchiodi said he is in the process of getting quotes for the equipment and its installation, which he will pass along to Riverside Township, which will do the actual purchasing.
“What they have to do is get all the paperwork and invoices and submit them to me,” Tuscher said. “We will order the equipment and pay for it and have it delivered where it needs to be delivered.”
Malchiodi said he hopes the work to install the new equipment can be underway by the end of March.
“I’d like to get it done by the end of the month, especially because Blythe Park School uses the park quite a bit,” Malchiodi said.