The gate at the tot lot playground on Gallatin Street has been fixed. The gate had been ripped off its hinges over the summer.
Parents had complained about the missing gate at King Park for months, citing safety concerns. St. Jerome Academy uses the park daily, and teachers had been fashioning makeshift closures to keep kids in the park. But city staff were initially reluctant to replace the gate, because of costs.
Emily Strab, one of the local parents who reached out to the city’s Department of Public Works (DPW), said she first made a complaint in September, when school started. Strab says she brought the missing gate to Hyattsville City Police Department Pvt. Jessica Mathews’ attention during a Neighborhood Watch meeting months later. Mathews shared the safety concerns, especially since police vehicles use Gallatin Street in emergencies.
Mathews reached out to DPW head Lesley Riddle about the concerns. Riddle cited the multiple repairs and fence replacements the city has had to make over the five years the fence has been in place as the reason for the initial delay in replacement. But, in late January, city staff decided to replace the gate.
“The City always seeks to balance the responsibilities of being good stewards of taxpayer dollars and meeting resident requests,” said Jake Rollow, City of Hyattsville public information officer. “The gate at King Park has been broken several times, prompting the city to spend tax dollars repeatedly to fix it. Children climb on it and adults sit and lean on it.
“The city has now replaced the gate again, and we are hopeful that park users will take good care of it, as well as all the great amenities at King Park.”