On Thursday morning, November 7, the Morning Optimist Club was treated to a presentation on Playground Safety by staff members from the Auburn Hills Department of Public Works. 

Stan Torres, Manager of Municipal Properties, and Pat Sawyers, Crew Leader for the Grounds Division, shared with us all that goes into keeping our playgrounds and their structures and surfaces safe. 

Pat is a Certified Playground Safety Inspector and part of the Municipal Grounds Division of the DPW with responsibilities of year-round maintenance of the city’s 193 acres of land and 8 park facilities.  The education that goes into playground safety is rather intensive and requires two full days of certification training followed by a comprehensive exam.  Seventy percent of those who take the exam fail it the first time.  We are proud to say that Pat is part of the other 30%.  Way to go Pat! 

I don’t know about you, but when my sons were younger and I took them to the park to play, I simply took it for granted that we would have a safe experience.  Most people, and understandably so, just don’t realize what goes into keeping a park safe for its patrons.  In Auburn Hills, park monitors check the parks daily and a comprehensive playground structure inspection is completed annually with follow up maintenance and adjustments throughout the year.  This is a prime example of the work your city staff is doing each and every day to make Auburn Hills a great place to live. 

Anyone visiting one of our parks who happens to confront what they believe could be an unsafe condition should report it immediately to DPW at 248.391.3777 or by email at

Tom Tanghe, City Manager

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