JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- For months parents have been wondering where the playground at A. Phillip Randolph Heritage Park disappeared went.
Slides, monkey bars, and see-sawswere strippedfrom the playground leaving community children with nowhere to play.
"I came up here the day before and we played for like hours. The next day I came up here andthey had snatched everything up and I was like 'oh my God what other park am I supposed to walk to with my babies?'" said Tawanna Warren, alocal parent.
Warren lives nearby and would usually walk her three-year-old and nieces to the park, but now she says they have nowhere to play.
"When they throw get-togethers, kids have nothing to play on. They be out there digging up dirt and pulling out the grass," said Warren.
The JaxParks department says the playground equipment was removed in April after city park maintenance staff inspected it and agreed with several complaints that the equipment was in poor condition.
A new redesigned playground is scheduled to be in place by this September, but in the meantime, many say the empty playground has been an inconvenience for the community.
"We've built well over 50 homes in this community and I think one of the attractions that are bringing our potential home buyers is the fact that there is nice playgrounds and equipment to bring their kids into because a lot of our home buyers are single mothers with children," said Earline Rowe, with the New Hope Foundation.
According to NeighborhoodScout.com, 20 percent of the households in neighborhoods surrounding the park are made up of single mothers. The city has two nearby parks about a quarter mile from Heritage, but because those have basketball courts, Warren says the older kids play there.
"The bigger kids be at the other parks. This is for the little kids," added Warren.
The city parks department says Jacksonville has 400 parks.
Removing and replacing equipment is a completely normal procedure. Once playground equipment is deemed to be in poor condition or poses a safety hazard, it is removed and a new set is installed.
Pam Roman with city parks says it has taken longer for the Heritage Park equipment to be replaced because it is being redesigned and ordered.
The department encourages all community residents to voice any concerns with parks or equipment by calling the city at 904-630-CITY.