Yelena Fedorchenko sat at a picnic table under a shelter at Oak Lawn’s Memorial Park Tuesday morning and watched her daughter, Enilia, walk to the rocket slide.
She kept a close eye on the 2-year-old girl, but didn’t stop her from playing on the playground equipment despite a June 5 report that someone found screws fastened onto the some of the slides.
The screws were driven into the bottoms of two of the five slides that make up the rocket slide.
“I wasn’t that surprised,” said Fedorchenko, an Oak Lawn resident. “There’s always crazy stuff happening in the world.”
Fedorchenko and her daughter visit the park, 10200 S. Major Ave., almost every day. She said she would inspect the slides if other children weren’t already playing on the equipment—an indication it was safe.
Several other moms looked on Tuesday morning as their young children climb the rocket slide—a playground apparatus that is the centerpiece of the recently remodeled Memorial Park—but no one inspected the equipment or prohibited their children from spending time on the slides.
Fedorchenko said her mother warned her to keep a close eye on the playground equipment, but she’s not too concerned.
“Things happen all the time,” she said. “My husband keeps saying, ‘Why would someone want to do this to kids?’”
Wendy Moss spent the morning at Memorial Park with other moms from the Pullman Christian Reformed Church. The group visits a different park every Tuesday morning, but last week’s news of vandalism didn’t deter them from spending time at Memorial Park.
“It definitely worries me,” said Wendy Moss, a South Holland resident, as she watched her three children play on the rocket slide.
Vellma Kellup, an Oak Lawn resident and church group member, was convinced that whoever damaged the slide was mimicking reports of similar activity elsewhere in Illinois and other parts of the country.
“To me, it was like a copycat incident,” Kellup said. “It doesn’t take much.”
Church member Kim Dykstra said the incident is a sign of the times.
“When I was growing up, I never had to deal with that,” Dykstra said.
In April, razor blades were duct taped to playground equipment at a park outside Philadelphia, but no one was injured. In Illinois, a toddler’s hands were sliced by razor blades glued to playground equipment in East Moline.
East Moline police said they found about a dozen razor blades glued to playground equipment at a local park.
Photos of the razor blades of the 2-year-old’s bloody, cut hand went viral on Facebook and made national headlines.
In Oak Lawn, police were called to Rocket Slide Park at about 11:30 p.m. after receiving a call about the screws, which were immediately removed by park district employees.
Park district employees are inspecting playground equipment in Oak Lawn parks on a daily basis. The police department also is keeping an eye on the parks.