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Parks Department explains why it replaced swings at Woodland Park Playground

Several PhinneyWood readers emailed us recently, upset over the replacement of the swings at Woodland Park Playground, next to the zoo. The swings had been slated to stay while much of the rest of the playground was renovated. But then, suddenly, the old swings were replaced with new swings, which some readers felt would not work as well.
Here’s the new swing structure.
Patrick Donohue, Senior Capital Project Coordinator with Seattle Parks & Recreation’s Planning and Development Division, emailed us to explain what happened:

We had not planned nor expected to remove the existing swings as part of the Woodland Park play area renovation project. It was only during construction that it became evident that the new swing area ramp—which is needed to make the swing area ADA-compliant—encroached on the existing swings’ required safety zone. To comply with the safety standards of the Public Playground Safety Handbook by U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, we needed to replace the existing swings.
Although the replacement swings look different, the belt swings are 12 feet high like the old swings, and will provide the same swing experience. The baby bucket swings did not comply with current safety standards and we replaced them with 8-foot high swings, which is the maximum height allowed for baby bucket swings and requires a smaller safety zone to comply with safety standards. This smaller safety zone allowed space for the ADA ramp.
Had we not replaced the swings and redesigned the swing containment area to provide mandatory clearance, it would have meant having no swings for several months past the April 22 opening date.
We regret having to replace the swings at Woodland Park but are confident that the new swings will give children a swing experience as good as the old swings gave.