Stow — A Fishcreek Elementary School student, 7-year-old Emma Kovach, met with Interim Mayor Jim Costello June 11 to discuss why her favorite playground, SKiP, off Darrow Road, was dismantled.The meeting came at the invitation of the mayor, after Emma wrote him a letter, saying she was "really angry" at the move. According to Costello, the wooden playground had deteriorated and become dangerous.

Emma was accompanied on her city hall visit by her father, Chris Furry. "She won’t be happy until she gets her wood park back," Furry says. "I’ve explained to her that’s just not going to happen but sometimes it’s like talking to a 7-year-old," he jokes.

"We’re very proud of you taking the time and effort to go ahead and send us that letter," Costello said; however in the future, he suggested she include a return address on any correspondence to make it easier to contact her. Joining Costello in welcoming Emma were City Council President Mattt Riehl and Parks and Recreation Director Linda Nahrstedt.

"Have you seen any other playgrounds around that look like SKiP, that were made of wood?" Costello asked. When Emma shook her head negatively, the mayor said, "That’s been part of the problem. You know how old SKiP playground was? It was 27 years old. How old’s your dad?" Emma indicated her father is 42. "So it (SKiP) was built when he was 15," Costello said, adding, "That’s a long time ago, wasn’t it? … We had to tear those swings down because they were broken …"

While Emma does patronize the playground at Oregon Trail and Silver Springs Park, she says the tire swing at SKiP was her "favorite." 

"We built those other two playgrounds because we knew SKip was getting very old and it was going to have to come down," the mayor told her. "We didn’t really want to take it down, but it just got so old that you really couldn’t play on it safely … And not only people like you play on it, but we have a lot of daycare centers come and bring their kids to play and it’s busy all the time so we had to make sure that nobody fell or got hurt there if something broke."

Before she left, Costello gave Emma a list of all the other playgrounds in Stow as well as a backpack stuffed with a T-shirt and Silly Putty. 

Reporter Ellin Walsh can be reached at 330-541-9419, or @EllinWalsh_RPC.