South Hills Mom

a mom's guide to kid-friendly resources in the South Hills

The Ones I DON’T Recommend

on August 27, 2013

It’s been a fun month of travelling around the South Hills looking for under-discovered playgrounds.  I’ve been in parts of the South Hills that I’ve never been in before and have found some true gems.  Unfortunately, I’ve also found some duds.  Luckily there haven’t been many, but today’s post is about the three playgrounds I DO NOT recommend.

Riehl Park, Killarney Drive, Castle Shannon

I’ll start off gently with Riehl Park.  Since we loved Hamilton Park so much, I decided to check out another one of Castle Shannon’s parks.  After taking a lot of concentration to find (because there are about 4 different routes “Killarney Drive” takes), I pulled into the parking lot of Riehl Park.  I saw a baseball field, a soccer field, restroom facilities…and a large EMPTY lot where the playground used to be!  Maybe Castle Shannon has big plans for a new, updated playground in this spot, but in the meantime, I only recommend this park for the athletic fields!

Mowry Park, Mowry Drive, Pleasant Hills


Mowry Park is a large park with many, many athletic fields.  If you’re here to play baseball, soccer, or basketball you’re in good shape!  But if you’ve come here to play…you may want to think twice.

I visited the playground right off Mowry Drive (but looking at Google Maps now I can’t tell if there are other playgrounds, further into the park?  I would love to stand corrected on this one!) and at first it looked like a nice little playground.  A small climbing structure, a couple swings, nothing fancy, but that’s okay.  However, once my toddler started playing on the climbing structure I noticed that the coating on the playground was peeling in many places and many rusted parts were showing through.  Not wanting to risk tetanus on what was supposed to be a fun day at the park, I packed up my unhappy kiddos and moved on.  We can deal with run-down, poorly maintained playgrounds…but this was a bit much and I was worried for my little girl’s safety.

Village Green Park, Alicia Drive, Bethel Park

Village Green, Bethel Park

THIS is the worst of all the playgrounds we visited.  It’s so disappointing because the playground structure would be the best in Bethel Park, but it is so poorly maintained that it was dangerous for my daughter to play on.

First, there are many signs of vandalism on this playground.  There is spray paint all over – even on the inside of the tunnel slide.  One of the tic tac toe board pieces had been burned (I’m assuming with a lighter).  It gives the playground an uneasy feeling, like it’s not protected.

Second, there are signs of neglect everywhere.  The mulch is very thin, in many places non-existent, with just dirt showing.  Naturally, many weeds have popped up and have taken over much of the playground floor.  The bubble window was so cloudy, scratched and possibly even painted that my daughter couldn’t even see me through it – one of her favorite playground activities.  On the bridge the paint coating is badly chipped, revealing a very rusted structure.  Again with the tetanus concerns, and also concerns about the integrity of the bridge.  How badly is it rusted through?  How many more times does my toddler have to run across it before it breaks?

Third, as if the above reasons weren’t enough to keep us away, my husband located shards of glass in the mulch near the picnic area.  At that point we cleaned up as best as we could for the safety of other unsuspecting families and got out of there.

I was so disappointed in this playground, especially as a resident of Bethel Park.  The quality I saw here was so far below that of neighboring communities, especially the pristine playgrounds of Upper St. Clair.



One response to “The Ones I DON’T Recommend

  1. Beth McClelland says:

    Thank you…won’t be going there! We’ve only been there to practice soccer.

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