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Three new playground features coming to Richfield this fall

Post Date:09/30/2019 3:56 PM

Very few cities can say that more than 10 percent of its land area is part of its park system. Richfield, Minnesota can lay claim to that factoid and this fall three of its parks will be receiving playground feature upgrades that meet the needs of its neighbors.

The playground features at Taft, Nicollet and Jefferson Parks will be replaced.

The three parks were selected as part of the city’s playground replacement schedule, which was created several years ago, to make sure the various playground features throughout the city receive the necessary upgrades they need as they come to the end of their lifespans.

The process to determine what each new playground feature would look like was left in the hands of the community. A group consisting of Recreation Services and Public Works Department employees held meetings with each neighborhood where the park scheduled for replacement was located to get their feedback regarding what they wanted in their new playground.

“We had some large crowds at the playground feature neighborhood meetings,” said Community Services Commission Chair Lisa Rudolph. “In Richfield people love their neighborhood parks and it was great to see both adults and kids be so engaged in the planning process.” 

After the neighborhood meetings concluded a committee consisting of Recreation Services, Public Works and Community Services Commission members reviewed the community feedback and reached out to companies to come up with designs that met the requests of the neighborhoods. From the get-go the group made one thing clear, they were not going to settle for a sub-par playground.

“Our playground replacement schedule only allows us to replace a playground feature every 20 years,” explained Recreation Services Director Amy Markle. “So, when it came to working on playground concepts with companies we explained that it was either all or nothing when it came to giving the neighborhoods what they wanted.”

Thankfully, Northern Recreation, the company that was selected to construct the new playground features was up to the task and delivered three distinctly unique design concepts.  

Taft_Park_3
(Taft Park playground rendering courtesy of Northern Recreation)

The new Taft Park playground feature will stand out, to say the least. The neighborhood wanted their playground to stand out, color-wise, and that is exactly what they will be getting because the Taft Park playground will be neon. It will also include a swing where two kids can face each other while playing, as well as a tree-climbing element.

Nicolett_Park2D_5
(Nicollet Park playground rendering courtesy of Northern Recreation)

Nicollet Park’s new playground feature will strike fear in the city’s landlubbers because it has a pirate ship theme. The neighborhood stressed the need for room for their kids to flex their imaginations.

Jefferson_2d_6
(Jefferson Park playground rendering courtesy of Northern Recreation) 

Lastly, Jefferson Park will have a compact rock climbing wall that leads to a twisty slide. The playground feature will also include a roller slide, which is popular with kids that have sensory processing issues.

“When it comes to replacing playgrounds it is easy to make all of them look similar,” emphasized Rudolph. “I like that all three playground features are distinctive, just like the neighborhoods wanted.” 

All three new park features will also include equipment for Richfield’s littlest park enthusiasts, specifically for kids 2-5 years of age.  

Taft Park will be the first park to receive its new playground feature. Construction started on September 15 with the two parks receiving their installed play features before winter.

Next year, Washington and Madison Parks are scheduled for playground feature replacement. The Recreations Services Department plans on hosting neighborhood engagement meetings to determine feature specifics during the spring of 2020.

“All of Richfield’s parks are used cared for and loved by the city’s residents,” insisted Markle. “Through the playground feature replacement project, we are ensuring that remains the case for future generations.”

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