Waiting for the opening of a playground in Visalia

VISALIA, Calif.

Kids and their parents have been left waiting for the new playground to open for some time. "We pass by, my daughter, she gets excited when she sees all the new toys and everything like that. She just wants to go, she's ready to go," said Visalia resident Melinda Metheney.

The project may look complete but it's not ready for little ones to play in just yet. The $450,000 dollar playground was supposed to open last month but has been delayed. "Unfortunately we've hit a snag in the project and we've had to terminate the general contractor on the job," said Vince Elizondo, director of Visalia's Parks and Recreation Department. The city is working with the general contractor's bonding agency to put the final touches and open the play area. All that's keeping kids out is a wire-fence.

"The project is 90% complete so it's very enticing for people to get in there. So we're on this path to g et this project finished as soon as possible so we can get it opened up," said Elizondo.

Although the playground is surrounded by a 6 foot tall fence, kids and even some parents have been able to get inside through an opening.

"It's pretty dangerous ... it's an accident waiting to happen," said Carl Ramirez, who frequents the park. He says the "No Trespassing" signs aren't deterring kids from getting in. "I must have seen about 15 kids. All the time, there's usually a flock of kids," said Ramirez. "Once a group goes in there comes a bunch of other ones right behind it."

"It's not supposed to be open," said Elizondo. "Perhaps sometimes people cut the fencing and get in there and we just have to repair it and move on."

For now, the city is urging its residents to obey the signs and wait for a complete and safe playground rather than be sorry.

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