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Kids Kove Closed Indefinitely

(Press Release Issued September 25, 2014)

Traverse City – On September 24, 2014, Grand Traverse County officials closed Kids Kove playground as a precautionary measure after learning that arsenic levels in the soil are elevated. 

According to Kristine Erickson, Director of County Parks and Recreation, “To protect the safety of our children, we have closed the playground. We are a working with the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and the County’s Health Department to coordinate further testing and analysis to determine the extent of the problem.”

Arsenic is a chemical element that occurs naturally in rock and soil. It is also possible that the arsenic present in the soil came from the playground.  The pressure-treated wood used in the construction of wood playgrounds in the 1990s was typically treated with chromated copper arsenate, an inorganic compound now banned because of the threat of arsenic leaking into the soil.

There have been several recent public discussions between County Parks Commissioners and the original Kids Kove building committee about refurbishing the playground.  Because the structure was built with treated lumber in 1996, testing the soil was the first step, as directed by commissioners.  Test results indicate that there are 19.9 parts per million of arsenic present in the soil.  However, at this time, the Parks and Recreation Department cannot state for certain where the arsenic found at Kid’s Kove came from without further testing.

Erickson says the playground will be closed until further notice.  In the meantime, DEQ officials will visit Kids Kove as soon as possible to take additional soil samples for testing, and county officials are working with the DEQ to identify options for remediation.


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