Design for new White Park playground includes accessible features

  • A rendering of the proposed redesign of the playground at White Park in Concord includes a wheel-chair accessible ride and a treehouse. Playgrounds by Leathers

Monitor staff
Published: 2/19/2020 4:38:27 PM

A wheel-chair accessible merry-go-round, a treehouse, a pirate ship, a rock wall and at least four different kinds of slides are among the new play features proposed for the redesigned Monkey Around Playground at White Park.

The design, created by Playgrounds by Leathers, incorporates the colorful castle structure that Concord residents are accustomed to into an inclusive park with modern amenities, Parks and Recreation Director David Gill said Wednesday.

“It’s a great reflection of the past and honoring all the hard work the community did when they built the playground 26 years ago, and looking forward regarding accessibility and some of the new play features that weren’t around when we built the last playground,” Gill said.

The city’s Parks and Recreation Center will be hosting a community forum on Thursday at 6 p.m. at the community center on Canterbury Road to present the new design and get feedback.

Concord does not now have any playgrounds that meet universal design, meaning they are designed to be accessible as possible for individuals, regardless of ability. The present-day Monkey Around Playground is built with stairs the can be difficult for kids to access, and on wood chips, which is prohibitive for those with mobility challenges. 

A few of the notable accessible elements of the new playground design are the ramps that lead up to play structure for those who can’t access stairs and pour in place rubber material used for flooring. 

The design also incorporates a merry-go-round that can be used by all children and therapeutic swings, which offer increased body and sensory support. 

Other new elements being introduced in the design are: a parent-child swing, a hover board, a puppet stage and obstacle course. 

Community members will also see familiar features incorporated into the design, like the beloved rainbow bridge and music stations, one with bongos and another with chimes.  

With the community’s support, Playgrounds by Leathers designed the current Monkey Around Playground in the early 1990s. The park has been loved by the community and become a “destination playground” for people from surrounding communities, Gill said. 

However, it almost entirely made from wood, and the city’s Parks and Recreation Department and Friends of White Park have put in time and money replacing and staining boards – problems that will only get worse over time.

The new playground will be built from durable plastic with a 40-year warranty, Gill said. Gill said the Parks and Recreation Department hopes to present the new design to the Concord City Council in the spring. The city hopes to have it built by summer 2021. 

An assessment completed in 2015 by Playground by Leathers determined the replacement project will cost at least $200,000. It may cost more, depending on what design features the public wants to see included.

(Leah Willingham can be reached at 369-3322 or lwillingham@cmonitor.com.)



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