When you consider the playgrounds you frolicked in as a child, they might be Mad Max-esque hellscapes to a kid of today — youngsters flying off out-of-control merry-go-rounds, teeter-totters seemingly intended to smash little hands, twisted metal "jungle gym" (that term somehow feels offensive now) outcroppings waiting to impale those who couldn't make it across the "monkey bars," and the sandboxes. Wait, sandboxes are bad now, too? According to San Francisco's Recreation and Parks Department, they most certainly are.
Sandboxes, which are currently featured at a number of city parks (the one at the Excelsior Playground is "perfect for small tots," Rec and Parks says on their website) are reportedly living on borrowed time in SF. According to KRON 4, "Sandboxes will soon be thing of the past at parks around the city" as "San Francisco Recreation and Park said the decision to eliminate sandboxes was because sand requires frequent cleaning, which the department finds challenging."
You might recall, in fact, when vandals smashed dozens of bottles in the sandbox at Dolores Park in February of 2015, prompting a weeks-long closure as workers replaced 20 tons of compromised sand.
Like so many other old-timey playground items (example: my grade school had a slide very similar to this one in its playground, except bottom part, where the kids come shooting out at a high rate of speed, was paved with rough concrete so we wouldn't get muddy), when you start to think about it, it does seem insane that we let our kids use the stuff. I mean, it's a box filled with sand left out in the urban elements that we tell kids to sit down on and plunge their hands into. What could go wrong in a city filled with discarded needles and feces?
That's apparently Rec and Parks' thinking, too. According to KRON, "sometimes they find broken glass, sharp objects and cat feces buried in the said." Just cat excrement? Then maybe it's good that we're quitting while we're ahead.