They're colorful, they're enticing and they're extremely convenient for parents who don't want to tote their children's own bulky playthings to Lincoln Park for an hour or two of recreation. But we agree with the city's decision that the dozens of previously owned toys that have been left behind by others for communal use must go.
Lincoln Park has attractive permanent playground equipment that provides ample opportunity for children to exercise and have fun. Having installed it, the city has a duty to keep the equipment and the rest of the play area well maintained for the safety of all who use it.
While we are sympathetic with adults who enjoy the fact their children and grandchildren can take advantage of the toys that have been discarded in the park by others over the years, we think it is unreasonable to expect the city staff to inspect dozens of used toys on a regular enough basis to guarantee their safety.
The unfortunate truth of the matter is that we live in a highly litigious society. A wheeled toy that's been left out to the elements for months or years could malfunction in a way that injures a child. Such toys are also tripping hazards for adults. An injury could lead to a costly lawsuit. Then the toys become everyone's problem, as we all would share the cost of paying for ensuing legal fees and judgments.
There's nothing more delightful than to see a child light up with glee, and the dozens of toys that have been left over the years at Lincoln Park have no doubt contributed to good times and warm memories. We get that. But please pack your own when visiting the park, then remember to take it home with you when playtime is over.