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Kid’s Kingdom closed due to tree damage, may re-open next week

MADISON – The City of Madison has closed Kid’s Kingdom, the popular children’s playground in the Dublin Park complex, because of safety concerns.

“Tree limbs have fallen during storms and high winds. None of (the limbs) hit people but it prompted concerns about safety,” parks and recreation director Kory Alfred said. “Our main objective is to protect citizens.”

Stoney Gray, a certified arborist, climbed and examined 39 trees to identify problems. Lightning has struck some of the trees, while decay and disease have damaged others. “Some are at the end of their life cycle,” Alfred said.

Gray concluded that 14 of the 39 trees were “hazard trees. A hazard tree is unstable and with probability to fall and damage property or a person.” All 14 trees will be cut down. “For every tree we remove, we will replace it with two,” Alfred said.

Alfred hopes Kid’s Kingdom will reopen the week of Feb. 18. “We’re doing our best to reopen early next week. We put in an emergency purchase with the city and trying to move as fast as we can,” he said. A crane will be required to take down upper sections of the large trees.

Later this year, other trees with different growth patterns will be monitored for disease. “We’re doing everything we can to keep the trees healthy,” Alfred said.

One measure will be avoiding excessive foot traffic and vehicle parking that compact soil around the trees. Visitors will not be allowed to park under trees. Alfred also plans to train the park staff to watch for improper growth of the trees and to prune as needed.

Trees surrounding Kid’s Kingdom are mainly hardwoods with oaks and maples.

In 1997, community volunteers built Kid’s Kingdom in six days. The public playground is open during daylight hours and free for the public to use. The maintenance division of Madison Parks and Recreation Department maintains the playground.

For more information, call Dublin Park at 256-772-9300.

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