Landscape Structures, Sparks@Play Collaborate with D.C. Parks and Recreation to Improve Playgrounds Citywide

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Playground renovations will create destination gathering spaces for generations of community members.

Top: Rosedale Recreation Center inclusive playground. Bottom: Palisades Playground features Native American-themed playground

In an initiative known as Play DC, the District of Columbia’s Department of Parks and Recreation has taken on a project to renovate more than 30 playgrounds throughout the city. Washington D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray has allocated $35 million to the largest playground improvement project to take place in the city.

The first of the completed playgrounds, located at Rosedale Recreation Center, celebrated its grand opening in late May. The playground provides a fully inclusive play experience for children and families that visit. In addition to the extensive ramping system, which makes the playstructure accessible to those in wheelchairs, the playground also offers many sensory-rich activities including playground climbers, slides, gliders and play panels.

The inclusive playground at Rosedale Recreation Center was also designed to mimic many of the monuments located near the National Mall. Some of the signature design elements included are façades of the White House, U.S. Capitol, Lincoln Memorial and Washington Monument. Plus, components with hints of the Hirshhorn Museum, Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, Natural History Museum, and the Air and Space Museum were also built-in. While the site is mostly complete, the parks and recreation department plans to install interpretive panels about each of the monumental features, which will include a description of the monuments in English and Braille, and “push to talk” buttons to hear the same descriptions in various languages.

Park planners within the department of parks and recreation worked with local playground consultant Sparks@Play and the custom design team at Landscape Structures, a Delano, Minn.-based commercial playground equipment manufacturer, to create the signature playground at Rosedale Recreation Center. The design uses a variety of materials including concrete that was sculpted and hand painted by the company’s team of artists.

“DPR is excited to create play spaces with unique equipment that challenges the social and physical development of children in the District of Columbia,” said Jesus Aguirre, director of DC Department of Parks and Recreation. “Our goal is to create play spaces that encourage our families to come and play for many years to come.”

Work is underway at playgrounds all over the city. The old playground equipment is being scrapped to make way for more updated playstructures, some of which will be as personalized as the playground at Rosedale Recreation Center. One thing all of the renovations have in common is that they will become spaces where all generations can come together to be active, have fun and play. Play DC’s park renovations are scheduled to be complete by the end of September 2013.

Since 1971, Landscape Structures Inc. has been the leading manufacturer of commercial playground equipment in the world. The employee-owned company is committed to creating a better world by encouraging outdoor activities that develop healthy kids, families and communities. Landscape Structures designs better playgrounds that welcome all ages and abilities, become signature gathering spaces for communities and offer the most innovative play experiences. The company’s mission from day one has been to enhance children’s lives by fostering and creating inspiring play experiences while honoring the environment.

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Katie Kava
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