To The Editor:
On September 30th I decided to take my two year old grandson to Dickinson Park, as it was an exceptionally beautiful day. Little did I know a potential tragedy was about to unfold. I am writing this letter as a cautionary tale for those of you who assume that all town facilities are maintained at the highest level of safety.
Walking from the parking area into Dickinson as you head toward the playground is a manhole cover fairly close to the basketball courts. I, by chance, walked over the cover only to have it flip up, sending me into the hole up to my shoulders. A friend was with me at the time and was able to keep the heavy cover off my back. At that point I was able to find footing on a pipe and, using my arms and upper body strength, lifted myself eventually up and onto the ground.
That was bad enough, but worse than that, my grandson was now on his own, having gone off to play on the slide. So, not only was I unable to tend to him, he was vulnerable as well, especially with the stream that runs through nearby. Repeated calls for help went unnoticed, although there were a good number of adults in the park at the time.
To say this was negligence would be an understatement. When I replay this incident I am, in one sense, relieved to know that it was better that I fell through rather than a child. In another sense, I am outraged that this manhole cover situation went unnoticed and jeopardized so many children and parents.
Word of advice: Always take a look around and make note of potential hazards to keep your family safe. I am still in shock that this happened, but I would have been negligent if I had not written this letter.
66 Currituck Road, Newtown October 3, 2013