Like most people, I was pretty excited to have a new playground installed at Ross Park. After completion I was impressed by the new layout, drainage, and use of space. However, after I was left unimpressed by a few things:
- Small swings – I’ve seen this pattern happening on a number of playgrounds. From the epic Gilman Playground swings disappearing to almost any other new swing installations, the swing heights are approaching the height of an average NBA basketball player. They are simply not built for big kids anymore. I presume this is for liability reasons, but it’s a sad development. And speaking of liabilities…
- Strange slide – The edgeless plastic slide thing was one of the most terrible creations I’ve ever come across. Slides have been classic tubes, or metal with edges for generations. And someone decides that we need this awkward wrap-your-legs-around strangeness. Not to mention the fact that it’s dangerous for any little tyke who’s never seen it before. With little warning, but no surprise the slide was removed from the park.
- Lack of “structures” – What happened to platforms, and forts, and shelters? In Seattle’s sometimes brutal weather, any little shelter is appreciated. Kids also love to find and hide in any nooks and crannies they can find. The new design of Ross Park completely stripped any of those possibilities. Instead we’re left with a tiny toddler area, and a jungle gym that seems to have been designed by spiders.
There were some good additions. The sandbox and digger is great, and the kids seem to love the single person spinner things. But for the big structures, why not go with the classics? Mix in a few experimental pieces, but give us a big swing, and a big, normal slide too. For now, we’ll just seek out the better playgrounds whenever we have the chance.