Playground dispute

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WICHITA, Kan. -- A house in Planeview has been in Marc Kemp's family for three generations.

When he moved in about six years ago the cleaned up the city property behind his home which had been overgrown with weeds and trash.

He brought in playground equipment and a basketball hoop.

But then a Wichita city inspector came up and put stakes in the ground behind his house. The inspector told Kemp the land behind his property was a storm water drainage area.

He told Kemp everything beyond the stakes, the playground equipment included, had to be moved by March or the city would clear the land and charge him for it.

"It's so often that Planeview gets a bad rep", Kemp said. "At any given day in the spring or summer or when it's nice outside this area is 15 to 20 kids deep."

The city's Assistant Director of Public Works, Don Henry, said there is a liability issue with private playground equipment on city property.

He also said the area in question is indeed a storm drainage right of way area that must be clear of structures. He said it's a common problem for the city.

The city now says the March deadline for compliance is set aside so the city legal department can be consulted on the issue.

Meanwhile, Kemp is hoping a compromise can be reached so the playground can stay for the children in the neighborhood.

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