We have just been updated on the renovation status of Healy Field in Roslindale. Construction is scheduled to begin this Spring now that Fallon Field, another major Roslindale playground, has re-opened this fall. We are particularly invested in Healy Field because we met with the design team at Copley Wolff last spring. In the meeting, we discussed ways to better incorporate inclusivity in their initial designs. You can find the original plans and our feedback in our Healy Report. You may remember us talking about this meeting in our first blog post.
We are proud to see that some of our suggestions were included in the final design. Some examples include a relocation of the stream to allow for better navigation across the park, the reduction of the non-inclusive netted climbing structure, and a replacement of the original merry-go-round with a wheelchair accessible version that is flush to the ground. More details of the final design were analyzed by our friends over at Roslindale Wants to Play which you can find linked below.
In the last month we attended two different playground planning community meetings. Some members headed to Dorchester to sit in on the Harambee Park community meeting #3. Parks and Rec is planning to do a complete overhaul of the park, including basketball courts, fields, and the playground. The meeting focused on rebranding the park with new entrances and updated features, however specific details of the playground’s layout and equipment remained hazy. Fortunately, we connected with the designers and Cathy Baker-Eclipse of Parks and Rec, and hope to remain in the loop as the project moves forward.
A few other members traveled out to the Downer Avenue Playground meeting. This meeting also focused on the park as a whole mainly due to concerns about safety. Also in attendance was the Joneshill Group, an active community group dedicated to promoting positive changes in the park. Many community members expressed concerns about the lack of police presence, drug use in the park, loitering teenagers, and noise. The playground that currently stands is designed for very young children which doesn’t fit the demographic that is primarily using the park. There was a push for lights, adult fitness, more seating, public art, and doggy bag holders to create a more productive community space. As this was the first meeting, exact details of the design were not discussed.
Attending these community meetings allows us to more thoroughly understand the needs of the communities in which we work. While our primary focus is on inclusive play, we understand that this must fit into the larger community. These interactions with designers, community members, and the city is one of the most concrete ways we are able to make an impact in Boston.