Categorized | IN OUR COMMUNITY

Park Board ready to update Longfellow playground

Posted on 25 October 2017 by calvin

Commissioner encourages residents to visit other parks and ‘shop’ around for what they want at Longfellow

By TESHA M. CHRISTENSEN
Retiring Park Commissioner Scott Vreeland is looking forward to what Longfellow Park will look like next year after the playground is redone.

Planning for the playground began this year and construction will take place in 2018.
“I’m hoping to have my nine grandkids on it next summer,” said Vreeland, whose term is up this year.

Photo right: The first official open house for the Longfellow playground project was held on Oct. 14. The next ones are slated for Nov. 8 and Dec. 6. Kids are encouraged to give their input on the playground design along with their grown-ups. (Photo by Tesha M. Christensen)

Vreeland is not the only one thrilled to see the aging equipment replaced.

“The neighborhood is very excited to start the process of discussing what the new playground could be,” pointed out playground designer Chris DesRoches. “We are still in the early stages of the community engagement process. But, through events at National Night Out and the Longfellow Corn Roast, neighbors have shown interest in increasing the accessibility of the playground equipment, providing opportunities for all age children, and connecting the design of the equipment to the unique features of the Longfellow neighborhood.”

The first official open house for the project was held Oct. 14. The next ones are slated for Nov. 8 and Dec. 6. Subscribe to the project email list via the project webpage to get announcements for community meetings and to stay informed about the project.

Grown-ups and kids are encouraged to attend the open houses and share their thoughts on what they like.

Shop for stuff from other parks
Improvements have been made to several nearby parks in the past few years, including Minnehaha, Lake Nokomis, Triangle Park, Powderhorn, and Matthews.

There are lots of choices for playground equipment these days. “I hope folks do some shopping for stuff they like,” Vreeland stated.

Those who like the old wooden park structures may want to check out what was installed on the west side of Powderhorn. The new equipment is built of locust wood that is good for 50 years. “It has got a nice feel to it,” observed Vreeland.

“There are many cool things with adult and kid stuff that work together,” added Vreeland, including toddler swings attached to an adult swing. Other cities have been installing equipment that enables adults to exercise while watching their children at play.

Plus, Minneapolis has begun experimenting with nature play areas and hybrids that allow kids to play differently and work together.

“Each park has its own kind of character,” stated Vreeland. “It’ll be interesting to see how that influences the design.”

Photo left: The first official open house for the Longfellow playground project was held on Oct. 14. The next ones are slated for Nov. 8 and Dec. 6. Kids are encouraged to give their input on the playground design along with their grown-ups. (Photo by Tesha M. Christensen)

Playground dates to 1980s
The current playground equipment at Longfellow Park was installed in the last 1980s and has reached the end of its lifespan, according to park board staff. The components and wood structure are significantly worn and beginning to fail due to age. Some items have been removed over the past few years as they were broken or had safety issues. Because of the age, the parts could not be replaced.

Additionally, the equipment is also out of compliance with current Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and ASTM guidelines.

“I really tried to get this done sooner, but it didn’t happen,” remarked Vreeland. “I’m happy it is finally happening.”

 

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