It’s been a while since our last update, but there was a whole lot going on behind the scenes all summer.
Play Everywhere Challenge
The initiative that required the most hands-on effort over the summer was our entry into KaBOOM’s Play Everywhere Challenge. We were thrilled to have been named finalists at the end of June, and spent much of July compiling a detailed application for the final round of consideration. Unfortunately, in late August we learned that our entry was not selected as a grant recipient. It is disappointing to have devoted so much time to this project without being able to take the final step of implementing our proposal, but we learned quite a bit and will keep our ideas around in the hope that we will find another opportunity to pursue them.
The winners were announced in late September, and we will be interested in watching these projects’ progress. Of particular note is Kit of Parks, a play set developed by a team from Boston. It packs up into a bike trailer so hopefully some day soon we will see it roll into Roslindale.
The anticipation is building for the opening of the new playground at Fallon Field, where things are really starting to look great. The climbing structure and slide are huge, and the slope between the two tiers of the playground is shaping up to be a tremendous play asset, because of both its steepness and the scrambling area that spans the playground’s two tiers. The huge yellow gateway between the little kids’ area and climbing net provides a striking visual, and we are looking forward to seeing even more of the playground’s details reach completion. We have learned that there are a few pieces of equipment that have not yet been delivered, and that the park’s opening has been pushed back into October as a result. Although a bit later than we had been hoping for, the opening ceremony will surely be a great moment of celebration for the neighborhood.
Among the biggest news stories in Roslindale this year was the destruction of the Sumner School’s playground by arson in the spring. In (much) happier news, the school community came together last weekend to install a set of PlayCubes on the schoolyard as a temporary play structure while a more comprehensive long term design for the schoolyard is developed. Because there is so much going on with this project, we will take a closer look at the Sumner School in a separate upcoming blog post.
We are still anticipating the installation of the city’s PlayForm 7 structure at Pagel Playground this fall. In August, the Parks Department held a community meeting at the park to discuss its placement and collect feedback. The community response was overwhelmingly positive, although it was clear that the installation will be most successful in conjunction with public safety measures. We have not yet heard a definite installation date, but will be sure to share the news as soon as we get the word.
The Healy Field renovation is still an active project, but its schedule has been impacted by the minor delays in the Fallon Field work. The Parks Department is unwilling to have both playgrounds closed for renovations simultaneously, a completely reasonable position given their status as our neighborhood’s only two playgrounds. As a result, the previous hope that work at Healy Field could begin this fall immediately after the completion of Fallon Field has been replaced with a plan to begin construction in the spring. We are expecting one last community meeting to discuss the final plans. This meeting will be a chance for the community to reacquaint itself with a project that has been in a holding pattern for months as a result of the Fallon Field timeline.
Bean Bag Toss
While much of our summer work was devoted to the Play Everywhere Challenge, we also took the opportunity to bring a fun installation into the community. Thanks to our good friend Dave Hamilton, we brought an enormous bean bag toss to the Roslindale farmers market on September 17. The game was a hit, and it was fun for us to watch the way that children chose to interact with such an out-of-scale game. Many preferred to climb on or sit in the targets, and found it delightful to have a huge bean bag come crashing through the hole onto them. Members of the Roslindale Business Group liked the idea so much that they asked to borrow the set for their Fall Fair on Birch Street the next day, so we had a full weekend of giant bean bag fun!
With the Play Everywhere Challenge behind us and playground renovation projects at the local parks underway, Roslindale Wants to Play can focus on more events and installations around the neighborhood. We have a list of projects that we think might be interesting to work on, but are always interested in hearing about ideas and opportunities from the community. If you have something to share, leave a comment here or use our contact page to get in touch.