Largo Central Park's playground has passed its 15th birthday, with some equipment boarded up, and paint chipping from the stairs and slides of its play structures. But for the most part, the swings and slides still provide as much fun as they did for kids a decade ago. As commissioners plan on replacing the equipment this year, essentially re-building the award-winning playground, parents ponder its present and future.
Chris Artis and daughter, Frankie, Largo
"With the budget cuts, are they going to be able to afford to make it as nice as it is now?"
Out of all the jungle gym structures available in the park, Artis' daughter, Frankie, 3, enjoys the car mockup set back in the shade the best. She hopes any replacement will include such simple pleasures.
"We've gone on so many imaginary trips in that car."
Lin Garcia and granddaughter, Kara Harris, Largo
Garcia enjoys taking her granddaughter, Kara Harris, to the playground.
One of her concerns is that new trends in playground construction might not be suitable for younger children.
"Some of the new stuff you see, like rock walls, I don't like those. I like it how it is, what we've loved for so long."
Innocentia Milliner and son, Quincy, Largo
With five kids who have all enjoyed the playground, Milliner often uses the park during summer months when school is out. While the playground is well-shaded, she says the summer sun still takes its toll.
She said she hopes that if a new playground is built, a fountain or water spout is installed so kids can cool off.
"I wish they had more water play. The kids get hot."
She added that another gripe many parents have involves the tire shavings used to cushion the area beneath ladders and slides. "All this tire stuff, kids throw it. It gets in their mouths."
Michelle Okeim, mom, Seminole
Okeim, who drives from her home in Seminole to Largo's playground because she feels its fence keeps her daughter, Lindsey, 5, safer, said she thinks the park is great in its current state. "She's played here since she's been able to walk. I think it's fine how it is." Okeim said the park's equipment is well-balanced for different age groups. "That section is for little kids, this one is for kids that are older. I think it's great."