TARPON SPRINGS — Old city playground equipment could be just the fix for the Tarpon Springs Housing Authority and the children of Mango Circle who have been without a playground for about a year.
At its meeting Thursday, the Housing Authority Commission agreed to ask the city of Tarpon Springs if it would take the playground equipment on Lime Street and move it to the Mango Circle housing complex.
While the city owns the equipment, which includes a slide combination set for ages up to 12 and a swing set. The Housing Authority owns the land.
In September, the authority plans to start work on a $11.5 million housing project that includes the parcel. The city has to move the equipment by that time.
"I'm for anything that would put something there as soon as possible," Housing Authority Commissioner Al Logan said of Mango Circle. "It's in our hearts to do what's right."
Mango Circle first drew attention in April 2009 after a St. Petersburg Times story described the rundown conditions of the complex's playground.
A National Playground and Park Association inspector delivered a scathing report that said the site was unsafe for children, and the playground was removed.
Citing that the 60-unit low-income complex was slated to be demolished and rebuilt once a federal tax credit was received, the Housing Authority was reluctant to replace the playground equipment.
But the authority learned last month that Mango Circle, which was built in 1973, did not receive the needed tax credits. The authority plans to reapply for the credit.
Currently, there are about 60 children living in Mango Circle.
Tarpon Springs Mayor David Archie is open to the idea of helping to move the playground equipment.
"I can't see not doing it," Archie said. "Especially if it's going to give young people an opportunity to have a playground. With the project the Housing Authority has, the city has to move it and it put somewhere else.
"So I don't see it as a cost factor. I see that the city would try to facilitate that."
City Commissioner Chris Alahouzos also agreed that it was a good idea, but he wants to ensure that the equipment is safe and up to standard.
"If it's good," he said, "we should work together and make sure we have a playground for the kids to play."
Demorris A. Lee can be reached at email@example.com or (727) 445-4174.