What’s wrong with the “new” playground at Ross Park?

March 6th, 2012 by Tommy Unger Leave a reply »

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.
  • Springy platforms – These things just seem like a mistake. I’m pretty sure the springs came from leftover Boeing 747 suspension, because they are simply not designed to be fun for a 40-60 pound kid. They just don’t spring enough. Maybe they’re designed for obese america, but I don’t really think that’s necessary on a playground, and even big little kids aren’t usually going to crack 100 pounds.
  • 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.

    The jumbled jungle gym at Ross Park

    The jumbled jungle gym at Ross Park

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    2 comments

    1. mike emard says:

      Yeah! Show me the classic swing set. How about some monkey bars.

    2. Jim says:

      I appreciate your insightful comments about this new playground.

      Many of us whom waited May to late August 2011 for this (450K) playground remodel to be complete have been underwhelmed by the results for the reasons you mention.

      We miss the previous playground’s larger slide, fort structure, and plain old balance beam.

      They also took out a big chunk of grass to put in the new swings, and the new ‘nature area’ at the NE corner of the park could use more than a few sickly ferns.

      In complaining about public infrastructre improvements, I now feel like a real Seattleite!

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