New Windsor playground structures impress parents, children alike
'I've made lots of good memories with friends here,' says Savannah Thomas
If you've been to Atkinson Park, Realtor Park, or one of the other 26 parks where new play structures have just been installed, you've probably been impressed by the multi-coloured, massive playground equipment the city recently installed.
It's taken two years of consultations and work to put together the imaginative structures, which feature much more than just swings and slides.
Among the amenities are musical instruments, a zip line, scavenger hunts, as well as equipment that connects to smartphones through a downloadable app.
"I think they did a really good job throughout the city with all the structures for kids and we like to get out every now and then and check out all the new parks that they built," said Andrea Gecse.
"I think this is a great design here. It's right beside the pool in the summer time so [there are] a lot of activities that can go on in this one little area of Riverside," said John McKibbon, Windsor-Essex Sports Hall of Fame triathlete, while sitting at the St. Rose Park's baseball-themed structure.
Most of the structures come with a theme. The one at Malden Park looks like a Tonka truck. The one at Realtor Park has a section that looks like a steam locomotive.
The structure at Atkinson Park features a 24-foot tower with an enclosed slide attached.
"I'm kind of a big kid. I tried it out. I thought it was fantastic I can see how some kids would be intimidated," said city landscape architect Heidi Baillargeon, who was behind the project.
"Over the years we've gotten a lot of feedback from the public about things they'd like to see in the parks. So going out to the public, doing public consultations, we realized the community wanted to see something different in the parks," said Baillargeon.
The 28 structures cost $7.4 million and come from three different companies.
And of course, the opinions of the kids who will play in the parks are probably the most important.
"Since it was installed, I've made lots of good memories with friends here. We come here after school and we have tons of fun," said Savannah Thomas, who likes to push her sister Scarlette on the swings at the Realtor Park structure, which also includes a splash pad.
"There's a lot of stuff you can do like ... lot of places to climb on," said Payton Quenneville, hanging upside down on the structure at Alymer Avenue and Riverside Drive, which was installed in 2012 and themed as a pirate ship.
Though some of the play structures have already been victims of vandalism, city staff have been quick to clean up the public spaces.
Baillargeon said criminal activity in the parks is down, because the structures are attracting more families, leading to fewer vandals.