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COAST, CENTRAL, AND NORTHWEST CITIES : GARDEN GROVE

Old Tires Take a Turn on Parks' Playgrounds

May 31, 2000|CHRIS CEBALLOS | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

By the end of June, the rubber from about 5,800 tires will be used for new, slip-resistant, shock-absorbing playground surfaces for two Garden Grove parks.

The new surfaces are designed to make the playgrounds at Eastgate and Woodbury parks safe for children and more accessible to residents with disabilities.

The installation of the new surfaces will be partially paid for with a $25,000 matching grant from the California Integrated Waste Management Board. The grant is part of the board's mission to reduce the amount of waste generated by public agencies.

"Even without the grants we were interested in installing the new surfaces," said Maria Stipe, administrative analyst for the city's Public Works Department. "The [rubberized asphalt] requires less maintenance. It's safer for children because it protects them better than sand. There can be glass in sand that you can't see and it's not as clean.

"And it makes playgrounds compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act," Stipe said. "That's one of the main reasons we chose to install it."

The board has also helped the city to install new surfaces at Gutosky, Village Green and Jardin De Los Ninos parks, and at the Atlantis Play Center.

About 60% of old tires are being diverted from California landfills, according to board reports. Still, officials say there is an enormous statewide surplus of waste tires taking up space in landfills and causing hazards in illegal stockpiles.

"There are some people who take their old tires and dump them illegally because it costs money to dispose of them," Stipe said. "Even to have them recycled, there is a charge because it costs money to recycle them."

Stipe says the Public Works Department occasionally receives reports of tires being left on the side of city roads. "If it rains and water gets inside of them, they become breeding grounds for mosquitoes and rodents," Stipe said. "It's a pretty serious heath problem."

To fight this problem, city staff plan to distribute brochures to the neighborhoods surrounding Eastgate and Woodbury parks. The brochure, "Don't Let Your Tires Get Tired," gives tips on how to increase a tire's life span.

Brochures are also available at City Hall, the Garden Grove Regional Library and the Municipal Service Center.

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Chris Ceballos can be reached at (714) 966-7440.

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