Construction should begin Wednesday, October 26, and should go on approximately 6-8 weeks. (If the warm weather holds and you’re in need of a play spot in the meantime, this might be a great chance to check out Harrison Heights playground!)
Our volunteer team of neighbors has been hard at work on this for months, and the design was developed through a lot of input and revisions from neighbors – both adults and kiddos. We are excited to share it with you!
Read on to see the final design and how your input was included...
This playground is a result of lots of collaborative effort between the city, Big Muddy Workshop, and the HPR volunteer team to try and integrate all the priorities we heard from neighbors! Here are a couple key features of the design:
- The surface is a combination of shock absorbent rubber and sand. The rubber creates an accessible pathway to all the playground features and provides safety under the towers and swings, while the sand still allows for tactile, sensory, creative play while being avoidable if you don’t want the mess!
- The play equipment is made of durable powder coated steel and plastic but has a natural, earthy color scheme to blend into the natural surroundings.
- It features a lots of partially enclosed “playhouse” areas, as well as tall turrets, all connected by footbridges and ropes.
- The larger play area has rock and rope climbing, a large social “disc” swing as well as traditional individual swings, a tall twisty slide, and a spinner.
- A new “tots” area has special features just for little kids, close enough to the larger playground for parents to watch both areas at once.
- The history of the park is reflected in the custom-made miniature trolley feature, which also doubles as a playhouse, with lots of little nooks and crannies for imaginary play.
This is what we heard from residents that we worked to incorporate...
Adults wanted a play area that:
- Is suitable for various ages (activities/equipment for both younger and older kids)
- Incorporates sensory play, such as a splashpad, sandbox, or musical elements
- Does not use recycled rubber tires or loose materials like sand or rocks as the surface
- Is either plastic/metal (58% preferred) or wooden (42% preferred) because…
- Plastic/metal is more durable, long lasting, and safer
- Wooden is more visually appealing, naturalistic, and tactile
- Has a big twisty slide or “devil slide,” swings, and climbing area
- Is more accessible (both ADA accessible and in location/path system within the park)
- Nods to the history of the park (perhaps by integrating play equipment styled after “old school” or “vintage” types, or by using a historical streetcar theme)
These are the features kids wanted most:
- Ability to connect all the features so they can climb/swing/jump/zip without touching ground
- Tall towers with peaked turrets
- Places to imagine/pretend that aren’t defined, like a small room with a table or other playhouse features
- A playground integrated into the park, like a hill-slide
- Sand and diggers!
- Social play spaces… to play pretend, to swing together as a group, etc.
April 2015 – Neighborhood Input
Almost 100 neighbors provided input through surveys, meetings, and kiosks set up at neighborhood events.
June-July 2015 – Kids Input
51 kids gave input on the playground design, at a special meeting for them and at a kiosk at the Field Club 4th of July parade.
July-Sept 2015 – Playground Design Work
A team of neighborhood volunteers worked closely with the city’s park planner to provide recommendations and assess possible designs within the city’s parameters.
Sept 2015-May 2016 - Fundraising
Our fundraising team worked with the Parks Department to identify additional funding to expand what was possible in the playground, including adding more rubberized surfacing and a big twisty slide.
May 2016 - Bid and Contracting
The city put the final design out to bid, selected a contractor, and scheduled the construction for the end of the summer park season.
October 2016 - Construction Begins!
Spring 2017 - Official Ribbon Cutting for the Summer Play Season!
We'll keep you posted over the next few weeks as the construction moves along.
In addition, this is just the first of many improvements coming to Hanscom Park. Check back in the next few weeks for more exciting updates!