One really enjoyable aspect of the community meetings for the renovations at Fallon Field and Healy Field has been the participation of some local children. They are, after all, the true experts when it comes to what works and what doesn’t in our playgrounds, and what kinds of play features we should be adding. At the first meeting for the Healy Field project, one young neighbor went so far as to bring her own design proposal.
This is an ambitious design! Here’s what we see:
- On the left side, there is a “half climbing structure and half relaxation center”. This is an amazing structure featuring a trap door and a built in hammock. It adds height, challenge, and a chance to just hang out in a kids-only space.
- Next to the climbing structure there is a big slide that looks completely awesome, with plenty of height and lots of twists and turns. A smaller toddler slide sits beside the big slide to make sure that the playground provides some fun for all ages.
- The biggest surprise in this design is the pair of remote controlled trap doors that lead to an underground play space (babies and toddlers not allowed) via a metal slide. This play space has a video game center with pillows for seating, gym rings, and a training area with a sword and punching bag. While the Parks Department may not actually provide swords, it can’t hurt to ask.
The second page of the design shows the designer’s interest in providing a natural setting for play. We see a small obstacle course set among apple trees, with a large central tower featuring another trap door.
The third page shows more apple trees, plus picnic tables, swings, and a tree house (featuring the fourth trap door seen in the design). The designer is a well-known advocate for swings – she regularly walks nearly a mile from her home near Healy to Fallon so that she can use the swings there – so seeing their inclusion is no surprise.
While it is fun to look at this design, it also lends some real insight into some of the needs for the playground. With plenty of height, an obstacle course, a training area, and trap doors, the design includes a lot of adventurous play. At the same time, there are spaces carved out for some less active play: hammocks, a game center with pillows, and a tree house. Let’s hope the actual design supports such a wide range of play options.