Saturday, February 24

"Break a leg", so they say

Green areas and playgrounds are not many in Jaffa. A research-paper published about a year ago, showed there to be considerably less parks and green areas in south Tel Aviv and Jaffa in comparison with the rest of Tel Aviv's municipal territory.
Jaffa's green areas and playgrounds have been neglected for many years. It was quite obvious Tel Aviv's planners didn't think about Jaffa's children.
Green areas, parks and playgrounds are a matter of planning, of budgets and related to the quality of life. The lack thereof, is a matter of social justice.
However, lately there has been some improvement and even in Ajami a few small playgrounds have been constructed over the last few years. A little green grass, some trees, a few slides and monkey bars are popular. Underneath the swings and monkey-bars there is soft sand or a mixture of recycled colourful cut-up car tyres, serving as a soft "landing spot" for kids falling or jumping while playing.
However, one wonders about maintenance. Right next to my house there used to be a lovely playground. Partially constructed on the roof of our communal bomb-shelter (which functions in normal days as a youth club) it boasted a rope and wooden slats bridge, a tall slide and all kinds of fun climbing "things" and swings. Over time, the weather and sun had weakened the wooden constructions, which started falling apart. The rain and salt air coming in from the sea weakened the iron chains connecting the slide and the bridge to the shelter's roof, where there was a sand pit for small kids to play in. Safely away from the road and the cars.

A "lag ba'omer" bonfire that went out of control did some additional damage too parts of the wooden construction as well.

After about 2 years of complaining, the municipality finally came, not to repair, but to take away the wooden leftovers.
They send me some sort of "funny letter", claiming the repair to be very expensive. "They were busy raising the money", so they said.
Kids being kids, they continued using the 4 meter high concrete basis of the big slide as an alternative. A very dangerous and unprotected one.
I sent another letter, and so once more the municipal destructors came, this time to put a fence around the high concrete slide. No more slide, no more danger, so they must have thought.
Kids being kids, they simply use the other parts: over 2 meter high concrete blocks that appear to have little function.
It's just a matter of time until one of the kids falls and breaks a leg or worse.
In Jaffa people don't sue the municipality. I wish they would. Perhaps they would come and repair the playground (or construct and maintain an alternative one).

Why should we wait until something bad happens?





1 comment:

ee said...

Yudit,

You could send a copy of your letter to Beterem, the organisation who deals with these subjects. Or maybe to "Shlom Hayeled".
Just a thought.