Playspace planning

November 23, 2010
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Members of the Friends of the Esplanade Playspace were on hand at the Beacon Hill Civic Association (BHCA) Parks and Public Spaces Committee meeting last week to discuss their playground proposal. The non-profit intends to build an approximately 10,000 square-foot playground for 5- to 12-year-olds a short distance from the Arthur Fiedler Footbridge on state land near the Hatch Shell café. Boston-based Halvorson Design Partnership is the architect for the project, which is privately funded and has an estimated cost of $1.2 million.

“There really is no playground geared towards older kids, and older kids have an aversion to tot lots,” said Rob Adams, a senior Associate and a project landscape architect at Halvorson.

Custom playground equipment would include a zipline, a rope structure with a slide and a wooden ladder.

“The equipment will be transparent so not to obscure views of the Esplanade from Storrow Drive,” Adams said, adding that other site elements would likely include a fountain.

Programming at the playground would aim to combat the high level of childhood obesity in the city and include yoga for kids, fitness for inner-city kids and upper-strength building activities, among other offerings.

“We’re also in the early stages of working with Children’s Hospital and other groups who want to support programming,” said Jean Egan of the Friends group.

Tani Marinovich, a founding member of the Friends group, said around 600 children are expected to use the playground each day, including students from three area schools who will have joint recesses at the location.

The Friends group has met with around 25 Esplanade stakeholders to date and is working closely with The Esplanade Association, which is currently spearheading Esplanade 2020 – a 10-year vision for the park.

“We really want to make this a community effort,” Marinovich said. “We’ve really tried to include everyone and take everyone’s input.”

The Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) will hold a public meeting at Hill House, 127 Mt. Vernon St., on Tuesday, Nov. 30, from 4 to 7:30 p.m. (4 to 5 p.m. for children; 6 to 7:30 p.m. for adults) to discuss the proposed playground.

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