Please comment on the Druid Drive playground concept design and equipment selections.
Druid Drive Neighborhood Park is a half-acre park located in Kensington, MD. There is a playground, a picnic area, and wooded area around the playground. The playground is in reasonably good condition and is not yet scheduled for a complete renovation. In 2018, Montgomery Parks added a walkway and paved picnic area at the park entrance to connect the playground with the adjacent sidewalk.
To continue to serve the community’s growing needs and requests for a more efficient use of space, Montgomery Parks plans to make immediate improvements to the park so the playground can serve more children of different ages and abilities. The intent is not a complete renovation which can take several years. The goal is to make changes that could occur in a few months so the community can enjoy the immediate improvement and enhancement to the playground.
The proposed concept includes the following improvements that can effectively enhance the user experience of the playground.
Safety improvements. The playground is surrounded by raised timber curbs. There are concerns with children running off or falling off the raised timber edges. The following strategies will help to improve the safety concerns.
- Grading improvements. Backfill and grade areas outside of timbers where feasible to eliminate sharp grade drop-offs.
- Edge protection. In areas where it is not feasible to create gentle grades and in areas against large trees, protect edge with a combination of fencing, ground level equipment and benches.
- Surfacing improvement. Provide a poured in place accessible path from the playground entrance to the swing set and along the front of the playground to the new ground level play components. The rest of the playground will remain engineered wood fiber surface, but the new accessible surfacing will connect to the swings and several new inclusive pieces of equipment.
Equipment improvements. The existing playground has 4 pieces of equipment：
- A climbing structure with slides. This structure will remain.
- A swing set with an accessible swing seat, a toddler swing seat and two regular swing seats. The concept plan proposes to switch locations of swings on swing bay, so that accessible and tot swings are closest to the accessible playground entrance.
- A frog spring toy. It may be possible to relocate the toy to another area of the playground or remove it completely.
A spinner. The concept proposes a replacement of the existing spinner with an inclusive whirl that can accommodate more children, more play modes and provide for better interaction.
A few other small pieces are proposed to add more ground level accessible play opportunities and fun experiences:
- Multi-use Whirl. The new spinner is inclusive, meaning it can be used by children of all ages, sizes, abilities, and fitness levels. Children with wheelchairs can have fun spinning, as can younger children. Kids can stand or sit, or run along, and there’s even room for caregivers to help.
- Activity Panel - Scrambled Scales Panel. This panel offers inclusive opportunities for children to hear, see, and touch while developing crucial sensory skills. It is double-sided, easy to approach, and offers interaction for everyone.
Option 1 - Momentum Corridor. It provides a unique rolling experience, which improves upper body strength and sensory play experiences. This equipment is fully accessible. Children with physical disabilities can transfer themselves and enjoy the fun.
Option 2 - Tire Climber with seat. It’s a climber. It’s a tunnel. It’s a hiding shelter. The tire climber provides opportunities for interactive play whether you prefer a quiet little hiding spot or more challenging climbing experience.
Playground Improvement Concept Plan
Click on image to enlarge
Please leave your comments on the proposed improvements and any suggestions you may have for other equipment that can fit within the existing space of the playground. Please keep in mind that the space of the playground is limited, and the safety zone around each piece of equipment needs to be considered. The goal is not to completely renovate the playground, but to make immediate improvements to balance needs and expand play opportunities with a limited budget.
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