Falls Park opens new playground

Aug. 24—PENDLETON — Even with a heat advisory in place, children could be found enjoying the new playground that officially opened Aug. 18 at Falls Park in Pendleton.

The playground replaces one installed in the 1990s and was built by Fredricks Construction (based in Pendleton) and PlayPros of Kokomo. The previous playground was damaged by a tornado in 2019.

Park Director Aaron Burris explained, "Installing this new playground has allowed us the opportunity to add inclusive elements for children of all ages and abilities."

Wednesday afternoon a group of home-schooled children were taking advantage of those elements climbing on top of a green artificial turf-covered tunnel. Some crawled into the tunnel for some cool relief from the heat. Rachel Fesler explained that she and Tori Brown brought their children to the park during the day when there was no crowd.

Also enjoying the new park were locals Tim and Rebecca McClintick with their grandson Rhett Cave, 3. The McClinticks take care of their grandson one day a week, and he was excited to see the work being done to install the playground. Tim said that Rhett was excited to see the construction equipment..

Tim McClintick grew up in Pendleton and said that there has been about five different playground installations at the Falls Creek site.

One thing he likes is the rubberized covering that the playground equipment sits on. He recalled a playground of his youth at a school being on hard pavement, and he noted how much safer and easier on the feat the new surface is. Speaking about playground safety brought up a childhood memory of playing on a tall metal slide that had no railings. He said that he and some cousins decided to go down holding each other together like a chain, and that he, the youngest of the group, flew off and was slightly injured. He recalled that he and his cousins kept that a secret from the grownups in his family for years as not to implicate anyone.