CHEEKTOWAGA, N.Y. - The director of Cheektowaga's Facilities Department told 2 On Your Side Thursday there's a "plan in place" to replace the part of the playground at Kelly Park that burned to the ground in early May.
Between insurance money, transferred dollars from a capital fund and a discount from an equipment store, John Jaroszewski said his department will have enough money to order the playground amenities soon and should have them installed by mid-August at the latest. On May 3, police say a 13-year-old boy burned down much of the playground; he told investigators he accidentally lit a pine cone on fire. They arrested him and charged him in family court on criminal mischief.
However, Capt. Jim Speyer of the Cheektowaga Police Department said his detectives are still investigating the cause of the fire and whether it was intentional. He said the lab will test whether there were traces of gasoline at the scene, and he also said investigators will interview other witnesses to gain more information.
Brandy Mroz, who has a child who attends the daycare center located fewer than 100 feet from the playground, said the incident has kept kids away from the park for the most part.
"To hear that a playground burned down, or part of it burned down, that's just not something that happens," Mroz said. "It makes me sad because I have two small children who utilize the playground, and I know there are other people that do, too."
Jaroszewksi said the new playground will be mostly identical to the old one.