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Central Park Playgrounds Redux

Robert Bendheim Playground is one of Central Park's 21 playgrounds in line for renovation by the Central Park Conservancy. Photo: nycparkhopper

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New York's Central Park has recently seen its seven meadows restored, thanks to the efforts of the Central Park Conservancy. Up next for the group is refurbishing the park's 21 playgrounds.

According to the New York Times' Lisa Foderaro, the conservancy's comprehensive and long-term restoration plan centered on renovating historic buildings, bridges and monuments, as well as bringing back the major lawns, which had become dust bowls. But the park's playgrounds, which were mostly built in the 1930s, were not addressed by the plan.

Many of the playgrounds have creative elements, such as climbing walls, but the play spaces offer lack consistency in quality, conservancy officials say.

''For many children in the city a playground in Central Park is the best place to play, explore and socialize,'' said Douglas Blonsky, the conservancy's president and Central Park administrator. ''Decades of careful park management have given us the opportunity to treat playgrounds like the important developmental resources they are.''

No price tag has been placed on the renovations, nor has the conservancy said which playgrounds would be revamped first. The conservancy has, however, identified several priorities in the new approach to playground development. It's called ''Plan for Play.'' Among the priorities are enhancing the quality of play experiences; increasing accessibility; complying with changing safety standards; preserving existing designs that are distinctive and successful; and pursuing sustainable design and construction practices.

The Central Park Conservancy is a nonprofit organization that contributes 85 percent of Central Park's $37.4 million dollar annual budget and employs 80 percent of the park's maintenance staff.

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November 18, 2019, 11:57 am PDT

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