On February 26, the district held a second meeting regarding the East End Park playground renovation scheduled for fall 2015. Two preliminary playground concepts were presented based on feedback from a prior public meeting, and many voiced approval of the planned playground relocation from the southeast corner of the park to a more central spot, as the existing playground is very close to the street. Additionally, the move will bring the playground nearer to the bathrooms, and allow the district to update the playground with modern equipment and technology; the existing equipment is outdated and presents a challenge when trying to acquire parts for repairs.
The new playground will feature ADA-accessible amenities, a shaded seating area, slides, and soft surfacing. Meeting attendees favored the first playground concept (pictured), which featured two separate areas for big kids (ages 6-12) and little kids (ages 2-5.) Attendees preferred the oodle swing, which can seat 4-6 kids at once, and the we-saw, a multi-seat seesaw, both of which are easily accessible from a wheelchair. A desire for additional swings was also mentioned, as well as a cozy dome similar to the one featured in Washington Park, which provides a climbing experience as well as a quiet space for overstimulated kids.
The existing playground will be donated to Kids Around the World, which recycles playground equipment and rebuilds in less fortunate communities. The preliminary concepts for the new playground will be presented to the Park Board at its March 11, 2015 meeting, and will be brought back for approval on April 8, 2015, after which the design will be let for bid. The playground is scheduled for construction from August 17, 2015 until mid-October. aferrentino [at] epd.org (For more information, contact Director of Parks & Facilities Angela Ferrentino.)