In publication since 1991, Wrangler News is distributed free every other Saturday to more than 18,000 homes in the Kyrene Corridor area of South Tempe and West Chandler, and is supported by local and regional advertisers.

  Search past and present issues of the Wrangler
    Site search Web search                       
   powered by
Classifieds Contact Us Links Media Kit Make a Payment Previous Issues

Back Home Forward

Waggoner dilemma: Do we really need another fence?

By: Tracy Doren

April 19, 2008   

Fencing surrounds us. We have our pool fences, our backyard fences, our Mexico border fences. Fences and gates around our neighborhoods. Whatever the real or imagined purpose, we seem to have fenced our world.

These barriers give us a certain sense of security, assuming that we feel better when we are fenced in.

Waggoner is a city of Tempe park adjacent to Waggoner Elementary School.

A move is under way to fence the park to help protect the kids at the school. 

My question is this:

When a fence goes up, does it protect the kids or does it alienate a neighborhood? Waggoner Park is full of activity from dawn ‘til dusk.  School kids playing all day long give way to soccer practice in the evenings and birthday parties and pick-up basketball games on weekends.   

In the past 40 years, Waggoner has not had a playground incident related to the lack of a fence around the playground. 

Knowing what I know of children, many see fences as something to be climbed: Once inside a fence, the other side beckons the explorer within.

How quickly can a seven-year-old climb a fence to get a wayward soccer ball? My guess is we will see the day the barrier is complete. Climbing accidents seem likely to follow fence installation.

Likewise, the open and inviting sense of neighborhood may be changed by enclosing the area. People will be less likely to stop at a neighborhood park if there are only limited access points. A park that has been openly enjoyed by so many for such a long time likely will become an underutilized decoration once the walls go up.

Ballots have been sent home to Waggoner families to decide whether to fence-in the park. Proponents say it will keep the kids safer; opponents see fencing as an unnecessary expense that will destroy the feeling of neighborhood the park now provides.

The fact is, the city of Tempe prefers an open park, so the $20,000 cost of erecting a fence will fall on the school district.

That’s a lot fund-raising for a result that will fence in our fears and fence out our neighbors. What do you think?


web site hit counter