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Lincoln Park toys can stay for now

Officials plan to discuss issue with residents before decision is made on removal.

August 24, 2013|By Alene Tchekmedyian, | By Alene Tchekmedyian,
  • Jennifer Allen, 34 of Burbank, and her daughter Lucy, 22 months, are surrounded by toys left behind by others at Lincoln Park in Burbank. Children use the toys when they come to play in this fenced in area of the park.
Jennifer Allen, 34 of Burbank, and her daughter Lucy,… (Raul Roa / Burbank…)

The riding toys at Burbank's Lincoln Park aren't going anywhere just yet.

The City Council on Tuesday asked officials to hold off on plans to remove the growing collection of used toys — which were scheduled for removal Wednesday — from the park after local parents put up a fight, arguing that the toys are made for kids and are often monitored by park-goers.

Park officials had asked parents earlier this month, via a sign posted on the playground gate, to remove all park toys before Wednesday.

The move came after landscaping crews working in the area reported a large number of riding toys in the park to city officials. Then, park officials and the city attorney deemed them a safety hazard, according to city spokesman Drew Sugars.

The collection includes dozens of used dump trucks, fire trucks and Disney-themed children's cars that parents have left behind over the years.


No lawsuit or claim was filed against the city that prompted the decision, Sugars added.

But after park-goers complained, the Council directed city staff to postpone removing the toys pending a more robust discussion.

"We can take another look at it," said Councilman Gary Bric. "I'd like to learn more about both sides of it."

Councilman Jess Talamantes agreed, but "(these days) everybody is ready to sue," he added.

"The first child that gets hurt, all of a sudden, there's a lawyer in the mix. And guess who gets to pay the lawyer who's in the mix? Us, all of the residents," Talamantes said.

But Burbank resident Kat Olson said parents are capable of supervising their own children.

"It's not a space shuttle, it's a piece of plastic that rolls," Olson said of the toys. "I don't think it requires much expertise in deciding whether or not it's operational or safe."

Olson suggested that officials reduce the number of toys in the park instead of eliminating them all together, or allow high school students to receive volunteer hours for helping clean or maintain the toys.

City officials will likely meet with parents to discuss the issue, and later present a "comprehensive" report to the council, said Judie Wilke, director of park, recreation and community services, in an email Wednesday.


Follow Alene Tchekmedyian on Google+ and on Twitter: @atchek.


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