By Leigh Armstrong

Skagway’s two public playgrounds could be resurfaced as part of the municipality’s 2020 budget.

Both the Mollie Walsh and school playground are on the list of recommended capital improvements for the fiscal year that starts July 1.

Currently, the playgrounds both use a recycled rubber mulch. The material has been found in some cases to contain volatile organic compounds. A study from Yale University determined that rubber mulch can contain carcinogens, heavy metals and skin irritants.

While a chemical analysis has shown that neither playground in Skagway has any of those compounds and elements, replacing the mulch with a different playground covering would eliminate the issue, Joshua Coughran, Skagway School superintendent, said.

“Many of our families are asking for this change now to avoid any potential health complications due to exposure,” Coughran said.

The assembly had received seven letters from concerned parents as of the April 18 meeting.

“Please, let’s remove the toxin and the risk and move forward with space that functions and promotes healthy play,” Annie Matsov, a mother in Skagway, wrote.

The recommendation for the project initially came from Assemblymember Steve Burnham. The plan would remove all the rubber mulch and replace it with another covering, such as a wood mulch. No decision has been made on a new cover material.