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Playground near unsecured retention pond

6:23 PM, Sep 20, 2013   |    comments
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Jasmine Valentin lives near Ken Road and 103rd street, close enough to realize that a playground feet from a retention pond is an accident waiting to happen.

"I've been complaining to the people around the neighborhood," said Valentin, "how can you have a retention pond next to the park with no fence."

Valentin has no children, but her maternal instincts are screaming at what she sees.

"It is crazy, it is irresponsible," she said. 

The pond is near McGirts Village, an uncompleted townhome community, that sits between busy its between busy 103rd and quiet Firetower streets; the playground sits less than than 50 feet from the retention pond.

"I've seen the results of this when nobody is paying attention to things like this," said Karen Ketchie.

Ketchie is a parent, a disaster management consultant, and an emergency room nurse.

"I can see turning the on the news one day and seeing where a child has drown," Ketchie said, "and this is such a simple solution to be had."

Ketchie doesn't live in McGirts Village, but as a concerned citizen would like something done to minimize the danger. 

"I think you're looking at a recipe for disaster," Ketchie said.

She drives 103rd street routinely and has watched the situation to see if it would change, it hasn't, so now she is trying to bring attention to the problem.

"What caught my eye this past Summer was some moms where sitting out here with their little ones," Ketchie said, "the children where coming down the slide and I said oh my goodness that could be an accident waiting to happen."

Her questions are who is responsible? Is there a city ordinance that requires fencing around retention ponds next to playgrounds? 

"I just think it is an easy fix, I think we need to not point fingers, but if somebody could step up and put a fence around the pond I think it would be an easy solution," said Ketchie.

JEA spokesperson Gerri Boyce reviewed the situation and confirmed that the plat for the retention pond belongs to the McGirts Village Owners Association.

Repeated calls the association's Hartley Road office were not returned.

According to www.sunbiz.org the state's corporation office the president is Greg Matovina.

Debbie Delgado said, citing an office of general counsels opinion, generally fencing is not required around a stormwater retention pond.

First Coast News

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