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Heard Around the Playground


Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago recently supported "Chicago Plays!" with contributions to the renovation of Pottawatomie Park.
Photo: Chicago Parks Foundation ribbon cutting at Pottawatomie Park

Chicago Plays!
Chicago Plays!, an initiative of Chicago Mayor Emanuel and the Chicago Park District that began in 2013, is a five-year playground renovation project. The program targets replacement of play equipment at 325 of the city's 521 playgrounds. The average monetary outlay for each playground is $125,000 for new equipment.

NYC's Schoolyards to Playgrounds & Upgrades
Mayor de Blasio is opening another 22 city school playgrounds to the public in a dramatic expansion of the city's Schoolyards to Playgrounds program, reports The Daily News. The program has opened 12 more schoolyard playground to the public during nonschool hours, with at least another 10 to open in the fall. Schoolyards to Playgrounds is part of a $48 million effort to have parks within walking distance of 85% of all New Yorkers by the year 2030.

The mayor also announced the city would spend $150 million to upgrade five neglected large parks in poorer neighborhoods: St. Mary's Park (south Bronx); Highbridge Park (upper Manhattan); Betsy Head Park (Brownsville, Brooklyn); Astoria Park (Queens); and Freshkills Park (Staten Island).

Junkyard Playground
While the Trust for Governors Island recently announced the opening of the landscape architecture designed 10-acre "Hills" park on Governors Island, a much less planned space on the island, an adventure playground, was thrown together and opened in May. This sprawling junkyard like playground of debris includes hammers and handsaws as play objects, and features a crudely built ladder leaning up against a large tree to offer kids access to its sizable lower branches. The rungs of the ladder are randomly painted in a mish mash of colors. Tire swings and other paraphernalia hang from the branches.

St. Louis Blues
A study, headed by the School of Medicine's Cassandra Arroyo-Johnson, published in the July Journal of Urban Health, scored 68 St. Louis-run playgrounds based on construction and maintenance criteria. Tweny-two of the playground received a low ranking; 16 of those were in the northern half of the city, which has a predominantly black population. The parks division says the study doesn't reflect playground improvements made within the past year.

Merrily We Go Around
The recently opened Legacy Playground at Labine Park in Nashua, N.H., offers a merry-go-round that accommodates wheel chairs.

As seen in LASN magazine, September 2016.

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June 17, 2019, 8:32 am PDT

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