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Wood chips replace rubber surface for one La Crosse playground



As kids are going back to school for another year, school and outdoor safety is a major concern for area parents.

One city park in La Crosse has a made a change in its playground, to replace surfaces that aren’t as popular as they used to be. The playground at Crowley Park along Campbell Road is now covered with wood chips, instead of rubber mulch that took the place of blacktop years ago.

A local group called Safer Playspaces and Community Environments, or SPACE for short, campaigned for the new surface at Crowley. Mackenzie Mindel of the La Crosse city council says rubber options, including a substance called Pour-in-Place, are now out of favor.

City council member Mackenzie Mindel joins families at Crowley Park to celebrate the installation of wood chips on the playground

Mindel attended a news conference at Crowley on Wednesday, “to finally celebrate the unveiling of our wood chips, instead of the stinky, gross, black chips that used to get stuck on our feet and all over our kids’ shoes and skin.”

The city budgeted $100,000 for replacement of the Crowley playground, next to Emerson School. Backers of the wood chip solution cited studies showing that rubber chips tend to absorb too much heat, raising the temperature on playgrounds.

A native of Prairie du Chien, Brad graduated from UW - La Crosse and has worked in radio news for more than 30 years, mostly in the La Crosse area. He regularly covers local courts and city and county government. Brad produces the features "Yesterday in La Crosse" and "What's Buried on Brad's Desk." He also writes the website "Triviazoids," which finds odd connections between events that happen on a certain date, and he writes and performs with the local comedy group Heart of La Crosse. Brad been featured on several national TV programs because of his memory skills.

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