[Mintwood-place] Kalorama's Concrete Picnic Table
matthew.forman2 at verizon.net
Wed Jun 24 23:04:41 EDT 2009
Eddie. You say the picnic set is indestructible, but it's broken! The seats broke a long time ago and have been replaced with some old, splintering boards. Pressure treated wood production stopped at the end of 2003, yet the old wooden boards have been there for at least the decade that I've been living here. Are you saying the current wood was installed after 2003, replacing the pre-2003 wood? If so, then apparently DPR must have to keep replacing the wood every few years. So much for indestructible. The current table is marred by graffiti, which will be difficult if not impossible to remove. As you and I discussed in person, we had asked DPR to replace the picnic set with the Victor Stanely model, not the model you mention. The Victor Stanley model was installed years ago in Walter Pierce Park and remains without problems, to my knowledge. It's made of durable cast iron and either ipe or mahogany wood. Victor Stanley also manufactured the benches and trash cans in Kalorama Park and their products are used throughout the District and many other cities internationally. The table has a 10 year warranty but is expected to last much longer. The manufacturer tells me they've seen models installed 30 years ago and they're still fine. It's ridiculous to equate warranty period with expected life. If so, then no car more than 3 or 4 years old would still be on the road. What evidence do you have that these products don't last? As to noise, perhaps we should get a decibel meter and compare the picnic table in Walter Pierce vs. the one in Kalorama Park? I suspect wood will be much quieter than concrete. As to safety, if toddlers can lose their balance, might they not also slip from the current seats and bump their head on the concrete table, which you note is an extremely hard surface? Wouldn't wood be a safer choice?
In any event, I ask that we all wait on this particular issue until the grass playcourt is complete so that we can see the existing table in its final context. If it's been there for years, we can wait another few weeks.
----- Original Message -----
From: Eddie Becker
To: matt forman ; Chris Version II.0 ; AllforKaloramaPark at yahoogroups.com ; Mintwood-place at lists.mutualaid.org
Cc: Jim Graham ; Chris Version II.0 ; Stephanie (DPR)Pitt ; Ximena (DCPS-OOC)Hartsock ; John (DPR)Borges ; Bridget (DPR)Stesney ; Sarah (DPR)Moulton ; weaveranc at aol.com ; Stacey (ANC 1C01)Moye ; wreynoldsanc at aol.com ; mindymoretti at yahoo.com ; leslie.douglas at att.net ; bcr at archetypestudio.net ; AMMainStreet at aol.com ; emily at mechner.com ; denisjames at verizon.net ; president at kaloramacitizens.org ; tedstein at gmail.com ; dcvirginia at hotmail.com ; seizetv at yahoo.com ; adam at mintwood.com ; Alexis Baden-Mayer ; John Cloud ; Wendy Lehman ; jbiggs7815 at aol.com
Sent: Wednesday, June 24, 2009 1:56 PM
Subject: Kalorama's Concrete Picnic Table
Dear Matt, Appreciate all your community work, But I believe it unwise to replace the existing concrete picnic table in Kalorama Park with a modern one. Sure it is more then 40 years old, but it is virtually indestructible. It shows no signs of the people I've seen try to carve their initials in it, hammer on it (one time smashing parking meters on it), build fires atop it, or just crush out lit cigarettes..
I doubt that the proposed replacement table made from plastic coated iron will hold up as well. Even under "normal wear" the manufacture only gives it a 5 year limited warranty. (See Regal Style Table, 145-1016 http://www.theparkcatalog.com/Customkititems.asp?kc=145-1016&eq=)
Your fear that the recently installed wooden seats might be made with arsenic preserved wood is unlikely since they were installed after the recall. But it would be prudent for DPR or the Karlorama Fund to spring for the $15-$25 arsenic test, as well as replace the two protruding screws heads on one of the seats.
The DPR plans call for setting the picnic table on a concrete platform. That is dangerous, since there is no backrest on the benches, I've seen toddlers loose their balance and tumble over backwards, better to have soft mulch under and around the picnic table, rather then hard concrete.
But what I like best about the old concrete table is that it's quiet. I'm one of the hundred or so people who live within 50 yards of the table. None of us complain about people using the table as a drum set or some mindless drunk pounding on the table. But I fear when the concrete is switched out to metal that will change.
From: matt forman <matthew.forman2 at verizon.net>
To: Chris Version II.0 <chrisotten2 at yahoo.com>; AllforKaloramaPark at yahoogroups.com; Mintwood-place at lists.mutualaid.org
Sent: Thursday, June 18, 2009 6:03:57 PM
Subject: Re: [Mintwood-place] [Fwd: Kal Park Mtg 6/17: Follow-up Report]
Chris - ...
I'm trying to understand your eagerness to retain a concrete picnic set. You say it's been around for 40 years, but actually, the bench seats broke apart years ago and have been replaced with splintering pine boards (likely pressure treated with arsenic, to poison neighborhood children), and protruding screw heads. I think the city got its money's worth out of this one. Isn't it time for replacement?
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