Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Urban Parks Reprised: The Comeback Kid

Back when I wrote my series on urban parks, I called out a particular park located on First and Florida NW "truly terrible".  I stand by that statement.  It was dirty, rundown, close to the street and seemed to attract lots of dubious childless adults.  And then, as though The Man could hear my disdain all the way down at City Hall, the park was closed for renovation.  It reopened a month ago, and thankfully, I barely recognized it.  It is a block and a half from the twins' house, which is perfect since I cannot pack that many girls into our little Toyota Camry.  We have been there a lot lately, and not surprisingly, I have some thoughts.

The good:
  • Lots of swings for bigs and littles, all enclosed within the same area as the playground.
  • A nice miniature climbing structure for the toddler set.
  • Horseshoe pits, which make great sandboxes.
  •  Spongy rubber flooring, my favorite kind when it comes to playgrounds.
  • Fences with gates that latch, and only one access point, away from the street corner.  At the corner, a revolving gate makes for exiting but no entrance.  So far, everyone I have seen at the park  has been there with their children (or, in my case, someone else's children).
  • A random circle of astroturf, perfect for shadow plays (see below).

The could-be-better:
  • The toddler playground is nice, but the big kids have this strange web-like climbing thing.  Without slides, they come over to the toddler area, and not all kids are as Elijah-concious as the twins and company.
  • Not very many trash cans.  So far, there hasn't been too much trash, but time will tell if this will stay true.
  • Broken water fountain.  Since we started going right after the re-opening, only one of the water fountains has been working.  That is okay, but the fact that no one has fixed the broken one makes me wonder what will happen if the other one goes ka-put. 
All in all, this park certainly deserves the most improved player award in my book.  (Sorry, that sentence had a lot of cliches.)  The proximity factor looms large, and I have no doubt that we will be spending a lot of time at this park in the summer.

Oh, yes, Elijah also wanted me to tell you that he likes the bells.

PS Aren't Noelle's new glasses the cutest?

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