PARKERSBURG — The state-installed swing set at Fort Boreman Park was briefly closed Thursday morning after a couple fell off it Wednesday night.
Wood County Commissioner Robert Tebay initially ordered the swing set closed as a precaution until it could be examined.
Commissioners reviewed security footage from the site on Thursday morning. The footage, which came from a security camera in the park pointing to the swing set, was time stamped at 7:01 p.m. and showed a woman sitting on the swing set and soon joined by a man. When he sat down, they both fell backwards off the swing.
The Almost Paradise Swing was installed by the state in June and is designed for people to take photos in a scenic area. The swing is a flat board without a backrest.
Officials discussed how the swing was set up and how it was attached to the frame. Wood County Maintenance Supervisor Todd Nonamaker said everything on the structure was intact and the rope holding the swing was not frayed.
Officials determined it was caused by the people using it, calling it “User error.”
County Administrator Marty Seufer said other people ended up using the swing set after the couple fell and had no problems. Others were trying to swing the swing and use it in a way they weren’t meant to be used and wouldn’t fall off.
“I don’t think there’s anything wrong with the swing,” he said.
Nine of these swings were placed around the state. Wood County Commission Chairman Blair Couch said he would contact the Parkersburg/Wood County Convention and Visitors Bureau and see if they heard of any issues elsewhere in the state.
If those involved are thinking of legal action, they will eventually have to go to the state.
“It was the state that put it, not us” said the couch.
Commissioner Jimmy Colombo felt it would need an engineer to look at it before it was declared “defective” Where “Not right” and ask the state to remove it.
There was no indication of that, he said.
He compared it to equipment in children’s playgrounds.
“If we were to shut down playground equipment for every child that falls, you would have no playground equipment,” he said.
The commission agreed to lay mulch around the swing set to help with any further incidents and decided to reopen the swing set.
In other cases:
* The commission announced an opening at the Wood County Recreation Commission and nominated John Badgley who previously held the position.
* The commission approved and signed the offer for the repairs to the roof of the courthouse. The only offer came from Murray Sheet Metal for $219,000. The rubber roof around the old skylight needs to be replaced, the metal part of the roof needs to be re-clad and a number of tiles (authorities estimate the number at over 100) around the courthouse need to be repaired. replaced as several are broken or missing. The county received a $100,000 grant from the Courthouse Facilities Improvement Authority, officials said, adding that the offer was lower than officials originally estimated.
* Wood County Sheriff Rick Woodyard said they have three openings for deputies, soon to be four. They could have a total of eight positions open by next spring due to retirements and other factors.
Colombo said the city of Parkersburg also has a number of openings for officers.
Officials said departments have not received many applicants for positions.
Officials have discussed the possibility that schools with resource officers must hire their own security so that the officers can be used by departments. Woodyard said it was a state code provision allowing hired security to have police powers. The school district would be responsible for paying and insuring them as they would be their employees.
“We are getting to the point where we can no longer do our legal duty,” said Woodyard.
Brett Dunlap can be reached at [email protected]