Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Final Chance to Give Input on Design for New Playground at the Park

Tomorrow night from 6:30-8:30pm is third and final community meeting to see the proposed final design and give your input on the new playground at Laurelhurst park. The meeting will be held at the Laurelhurst Community Center.
Karina Kunnis and her husband Jeff, have headed up this project along with a Steerring Committee and over several community and committee meetings have come up with a theme of a "nautical, outdoorsy feeling given the location of Laurelhurst on the water."

She says, "Our committee, as well as neighbors at the last two community meetings, expressed wanting the playground to incorporate the outdoors, views of the water and mountains, and use of natural and organic elements as much as possible."

Wendy, on the Steering Committee, said that at the last meeting on October 2nd, Barker and Associates presented a 5th design, after the 4 previous designs were presented to the Parks Department who had concerns about the high cost of maintenance for some of the designs, (due to gardens and plantings that would require a fair amount of upkeep). 

Here is more about the design and new features that Karina has told us about:
  • The new design features several outdoor “rooms”—tot area for ages 2-5, a bigger kid play space (ages 5-12), swings and picnic areas.
  • In the tot space along with the new toddler equipment (installed in 2008), there will now be adequate seating for parents (a retaining wall flanked by boulders) and a new sandbox.
  •  Adjacent, will be the 5-12 kid area (so a parent will be able to track their older children too), and will be complete with a huge tree house-like fort play structure and will feature a lifelike tree slide.
  • The existing tire swing, merry-go-round, and swings will remain. A pathway and a few rubber mounds suggesting an “island” and “beach” will separate the swings.
  • The existing picnic area will be re-imagined with a boat covered picnic table surrounded by natural plantings, paths and downed logs (resembling drift wood).
  • The circular concrete plaza will remain (for community center concerts and events) but will be flanked by boulders better connecting it with the playground.
  • The new design also calls for improved seating—seat walls will surround the play areas for parents, seniors, and teenagers.
  • Scattered in, there will also be circular “council rings” areas where boulders form half circles, so teens or adults can sit with friends.
  • Connecting the playground with the rest of the park will be a series of pathways—children can ride bikes, and there will be improved access to the playground for strollers and wheel chairs. The paths will also connect with the existing park trails.
And Wendy said that at the last meeting people were interested in knowing more about the actual play structures that would be selected, which she said is not included in the design as that is done at the next construction phase, which is next in the project timeline.

She said that the Steering Committee is "leaning toward, and there is community enthusiasm for a custom structure that would be designed by a group called Leathers and Associates, which specializes in unique, community built playgrounds. The Parks Department prefers a more 'off the shelf' product, so there is still negoitiating to do on that piece. We will keep the new toddler equipment and will likely will keep the swings as well. "

Wendy also told us that the current projected cost for the latest design "is significantly higher (by about $150K- 200K) than the $400K we will be given from the Levy, so we will likely need to apply for another neighborhood matching grant (up to $100K) in the late winter and raise some money for the neighborhood residents and surrounding businesses.  We also have asked Barker to provide a suggested plan for their design that is able to be phased, which would allow us to complete the project as funds are available."


You can view the design (above) by Barker Landscapes and learn more about the project on the Facebook page or previous blog post or by emailing

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