What's Buggin' You with Kate Larsen
SACRAMENTO, CA - Families in Natomas are being fenced out of their neighborhood playgrounds and want to know when their kids can resume playtime.
"It has been apparent, the last two months, parks have been closed. The two ones that are next to our house," says Marc Laver, a father of two and resident of North Natomas. "It has been a problem because my kids can't access the park so it has been an issue," adds Laver.
Since the middle of November, North Natomas playgrounds have been caged, fenced off so the City of Sacramento can install shade canopies, a project many neighbors think is a much needed improvement.
"We've been really advocating for shade structures because there's many months in the year in Sacramento that we couldn't use the parks, it just got too hot. The equipment would actually burn the children," says Beth Mahony, a mother of three who serves on the parks and schools committee for her Natomas Park Master Association's H.O.A.
No one is arguing against the upgrade, but the lack of progress on at least three of the playgrounds is bugging a lot of parents. The signs around the park playgrounds say 'reopens December 2011.'
"It has been odd that there's been that long of a period from when they put the fences up to not have the work done. So it's maybe a contract issue, city bureaucracy, everything works slow," says Laver.
News10 reporter Kate Larsen called Sacramento's Parks and Recreation Department and left several unreturned messages asking for more details about the project and the delay. Larsen did talk once, very briefly, with two city employees who said that two-and-a-half months is a typical amount of time for this type of project, but didn't answer many questions after that.
Larsen did find someone able and willing to answer questions -- the subcontractor hired to install the shade canopies in many of the parks. The subcontractor declined to share his name or show his face on camera, but explained the project was past deadline.
"These have taken longer than they should have," the subcontractor said. "It should have been done within a few weeks."
The subcontractor explained the city of Sacramento purchases the shade canopies all at once to save money on shipping costs and hires a general contractor to put up fences around the playgrounds.
The subcontractor says he probably should have assumed the extra cost to store the canopies off-site during the installation. He said his projects normally run on schedule and took the blame for the project delay.
"Regardless of holidays, soil conditions, what have you. You're given a specified timeline, they documented a release date to the public. I'm the one that's supposed to be performing, kind of locks me into the at fault position," he said.
The subcontractor promises the three remaining fenced-off playgrounds will be under shade and open by the middle of this week. News10 will be back in Natomas to check and make sure the project is complete.
The What's Buggin' You stories come from News10 viewers, so if something is buggin' you, then bug Kate. You can email her at email@example.com.