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Kids and parents upset after playground torn down by HOA

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    PHOENIX, AZ (KTVK/KPHO) — Some kids and parents in a north Phoenix neighborhood say they are heartbroken after a playground was torn down this week. It was located at a park near Tatum Boulevard and Union Hills Drive for more than a decade. Neighbors say they are frustrated because the HOA didn’t run the decision by them.

“We didn’t have an opportunity to voice our opinion. When you move into an HOA community, that is what you are expecting, community,” said Dave Pries.

Pries, who has lived in the neighborhood for 14 years, said the HOA board held a meeting last month, but it was closed to the public. According to a letter from the management company Snow Management Services, the playground was torn down because it was a safety hazard. The letter said it was 14.5 years old and only had a 15-year life expectancy. It added that replacements and repairs would cost up to $20,000.

“If it needed some tune-ups, we would gladly talk about that and discussed it and seen what the costs would have been, but they didn’t give us that opportunity,” said Pries.

The Snow Management Services sent Arizona’s Family the following statement on Friday:

“The Board of Directors’ of Tatum Manor Tatum Heights Homeowners Association have a duty to ensure the Association Member’s safety and general well-being. The Board’s decision to remove one of their two play structures in the community was not an easy one to make. The Board held open meetings for the Owners of Tatum Manor Tatum Heights to attend. Discussions centered around the safety issues with structure and how best to address the aging, hazardous components of structure. Prevention is essential to keeping an Association and its Homeowners safe. If the Board fails to remedy safety issues, the Association as well as each Homeowner could face serious legal ramifications. The Board relied upon maintenance and safety evaluations from a playground expert along with guidance received from the Association’s attorney. The Board researched the cost of repairing and replacing the components to correct the safety issues with costs totaling close to $20,000. After much deliberation, the decision was based on the overall cost needed to bring the structure into compliance, the ongoing maintenance, the risks and liability to the Association and its Homeowners as well as the guidance received from industry experts. This structure was placed in the middle of a drainage area that regularly floods when it rains. The Association’s Governing Documents and Plat Map state the area is for the purpose of accepting storm water, and no structure of any kind shall be constructed. The Board members understand that the play area was an outlet for children that live in the association and are sad to see it removed. Tatum Manor Tatum Heights is professionally managed by Snow Property Services. In today’s uncertain times, it is more important than ever to do what we can to improve the lives of those living in our communities. One way Snow Property Services will do this is by donating $5,000 towards the revitalization of the area. “

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