Irwin delays demolition of Little Knights Kingdom

November 9, 2018

The fate of Irwin Park’s shuttered Little Knights Kingdom, a wooden playground overgrown by weeds and marred by trash and graffiti, remains uncertain. Municipal officials postponed a demolition decision until they know how much it will cost to get rid of the remnants.

The playground, across a Brush Creek tributary from the ball field at Irwin Park, has been closed for years. A bridge spanning the creek was removed to prevent people from using the slide and swings or walking up and down the wooden turrets. The playground opened in 1994 with community support.

Council recently voted against taking steps to have it demolished until Randy Altman, public works director, gets landfill disposal estimates. The borough’s public works crew can remove the playground, Altman said.

Zachary Kansler, borough solicitor, advised against allowing the public to tear it down for reuse because of liability issues.

“I prefer to get it out and remove it. Say goodbye and throw it in the Dumpster,” Kansler said.

Officials previously received a high cost estimate for demolishing the playground, Councilwoman Debbie Kelly said.

“We’ve been talking about it for 10 years,” Kelly said. “I hate to see it demolished.”

Planks engraved with the names of donors should be saved, Councilman Michel Yunn said. That wood could be used as railings around the gazebo in the park.

Community members three years ago started an online petition at Change.org urging Irwin officials and the Norwin Chamber of Commerce to “Fix, Improve, and Rebuild Little Knights Kingdom.” The effort received support from 650 people.

A new playground is being built at the park, with separate sections for younger and older children.

The new playground was to be dedicated Oct. 26, but those ceremonies have been delayed until the spring “since we will not have it done by the original cut-off” date, said Shari Martino, Irwin assistant manager.

Rainy weather has held up completion of the new playground, Martino said.

Councilman Michael Yunn said on Oct. 23 that drainage pipe has been installed underneath the playground equipment and those pipes will connect to an existing pipe that empties into a creek along the park. Stone is being laid down at the site, then it will be covered with a mesh fabric. The engineered wood will be layered atop the mesh fabric.

Yunn expects the playground will be finished and open for the children before the end of the year.

Irwin is still planning to show a children’s Halloween movie, “Hotel Transylvania 2,” at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 26 at the park.

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