Three months after a concrete picnic table bench crumbled and broke a child’s ankle, the broken slab remains lying at Santa Rosa Park in San Luis Obispo. The city is now facing a pending claim from the child’s family, as well as complaints over the amount of time it is taking to address its broken picnic table problem. [KSBY]
On Aug. 31, Asher Agueda, 10, was standing near a picnic table during a school meetup at Santa Rosa Park. Another student who had been sitting on the bench jumped off, prompting the concrete slab to collapse.
The bench fell on Agueda’s leg, smashing his ankle and trapping him underneath, said Sadie Agueda, the boy’s mother. Asher Agueda said his ankle was “purple everywhere” and swollen.
Sadie Agueda said she called park maintenance immediately after the accident, hoping changes would occur quickly. But a few months later, the broken bench remains lying on the ground at Santa Rosa Park covered in caution tape and marked with a couple cones. Other picnic tables in the area are also broken and marked with tape.
Jeff Hendricks, San Luis Obispo’s parks maintenance supervisors, said the concrete picnic tables are on a replacement schedule of three to four tables per years. However, the city is reevaluating that plan as more benches begin to crumble.
City official plan to move functioning benches to different locations in the park. Broken benches will be disposed of and replaced with more standardized picnic tables, which can be found in other city parks.
Hendricks said the concrete picnic table failure caught the city completely by surprise. It will cost about $16,000, including equipment rental costs, to replace the benches. It has already taken longer than anticipated to replace the broken benches.
Managers are monitoring the area daily as the replacement process drags on.
Sadie Agueda said her family must cover hundreds of dollars of medical bills out of pocket. The family will then file a claim with the city for reimbursement. The Aguedas have already hired an attorney.