Health Department to Continue Scheduling Playground Use
Town Meeting votes for the Health Department to continue keeping a master schedule of playground and park use by day care centers.
Town Meeting passed the Advisory Committee's version of Article 15, which urges the Health Department to continue making and monitoring a schedule for group day care centers and family child care programs to use parks and open spaces. An amendment that would also create a moderator's committee to study the use was defeated.
The petitioner, Ruthann Sneider explained that her goal was "to ease the tension and bring situation to your attention."
In the last year, the Brookline Health Department, and the Parks Department have worked together to make a master schedule with the various day care programs to prevent overlap.
"Brookline has long been seen as a community that is welcoming to children." Selectwoman Nancy Daly said, "In our urban enviroment, the parks help make it welcoming to children."
She added that the original version of the petition would have made restrictions for children's use of the park more stringent than that for dogs. Daly also said that, that since the Parks and Health departments began scheduling, there has been significant progress on the matter--and less overlap.
She encouraged Town Meeting to vote on the Advisory Committee's version of the article, and not to vote for the amendment proposed.
Speaking for her amendment, Precinct 8 Town Meeting Member Maya French explained, "It's clear to me that we need a more formal structure."
She pointed out that while the Parks Department monitors the schedule, it is not responsible for maintaining the state regulations surrounding conditions at the parks. This is the responsibility of the Health Department. A Moderator's commission could also study programs that are not currently on the master schedule.
The Health Department estimates that 90 percent of the kids using the parks are from Brookline.
Town Meeting Members voted down the proposed amendment, and voted for the Advisory Committee version, which would keep the current system of creating a master schedule.