The decision to tear out a playground in a park on Tucsons Southeast side has triggered calls to re-think what will go into renovations at Purple Heart Park.

Until a few days ago there was some playground equipment at a bare spot near the entrance to Purple Heart Park in Rita Ranch. But the city had to remove it because the city says it was unsafe and it was just too old to get replacement parts but now theres a real question of what goes there next.

Purple Heart Park is at the heart of Rita Ranch. Its the only sizable park in the area.

So many families on the southeast side depend on Purple Heart Park that any change makes a big differenceso theres a lot of interest in what will go where the playground was.

Katie Young started an online petition to urge the Tucson Parks Department to put in a new playground, like the old one, which worked for a wide range of ages.

There are other playgrounds in the park but Young says a playground good for a wide range of children makes it easier for parents to watch a varied group of kids.

That was something that was echoed in the Facebook comments was it was really easy. For families to come here. Three play areas for all sorts of different ages to be able to play, sit in the ramada on the benches and supervise everybody all at once.

Katie Young knows when Tucson Voters approved bonds to pay for city improvements Purple Heart Park was tagged for more than two million dollars in renovations. But those could fill the old playground site with something like a basketball court or more parking.

City Councilmember Nikki Lee represents the Rita Ranch area. She says petitions like Katie Youngs will get discussions going that can change the plans for the park. She says what the community decides, shell support.

So if they decide they want pickleball or more playground equipment, I don’t know that we’ll get everybody’s full consensus because we do have a wide variety of folks who live out here but whatever the community decides I’m going to support them wholeheartedly and work to deliver that.

But Lee says filling the spot will take some time. With deciding what to build, then actually building it, nothings expected to be ready to play on for at least two and a half years.