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Neighbors concerned about kids playing on stored pipes

Photo courtesy of Mo Photo courtesy of Mo

LAWTON, Okla._Dozens of sewage pipes are sitting just feet away from a Lawton playground, giving neighborhood children yet another thing to climb on.

And that's created concerns for parents and residents who say they often see kids playing on them. The equipment is being stored at the corner of Northwest 5th Street and Columbia Avenue as the city works to replace sewage lines throughout neighborhoods on the north side of town. The city says that's the most cost-effective place to store them, but residents worry about the danger.

"If they’re not doing anything with them, I don't see why they don't get rid of the pipes. And if they need them, they should probably protect them better so that children couldn't get hurt,” Mo, a concerned neighbor, said.

Moore lives across the street from the park and often kids playing on the pipes. He often sees the danger that could unfold and wants to know why it's taking so long for the city to move their equipment.  

"They've been here around almost a year," Mo said.

Britt Hubbard, a construction inspector with the city, says the project of replacing the sewage lines in the neighborhood was put on hold due to the heavy rain in May.

"Those rains created a lot of damage to our sewer system our group. The sewer construction department had to pull off our normal work, which would have been this one, and go out and repair mains," Hubbard explained.

One of the major concerns for the parents is not only why this equipment is so close to the park, but how easily accessible it is to children.  The orange fence is easy to climb over and step right up.

"We have to find a place to store it. We don't have any other place to store it other than if we were to store it in an alley way, which would block people’s access to the rear of their property, or in people’s front yards,” Hubbard said.

Assistant City Manager Jim Russell says the fence is a warning sign, and not technically a barricade.

"It’s not within itself designed to prevent anyone from doing anything, but what it’s designed to do is say ‘stay away, you should not be here,’” Russell said.

"We rely on parents to watch the kids, also if they see them coming over to get on this, to pull them back off of it,” Hubbard said.

The City of Lawton also says they will step in if needed. They say people should call them if they see something wrong.

Russell says the expected end date for the sewage project in the north side of town is April 16, 2016, if the weather cooperates.

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