For decades the PrairiePlay playground at Meadowbrook Park has drawn visitors from around the region due to its unique aesthetic and impressive size. Generations of children and families have made memories at the playground. Park district staff recognize the appreciation many community members have regarding the playground, and how hard it may be to see it replaced.
Built in 1995, the playground has been carefully maintained and therefore lived longer than most playgrounds; it is however, reaching the end of its usable life. The wood has been sealed every two years per manufacturer recommendations, and repairs continue to be made where possible. Repairs have included replacement of decking, support joists, hand rails, and rebuilding specific components such as the sandbox. However, some things are not able to be repaired or replaced. Reasons for this have included replacement parts no longer being available, components no longer meeting current playground standards, and inability to endure the high use of the playground, such as some rubber components.
With the life of the playground structure deteriorating due to the nature of the wood material, as well as the opportunities of advancements in accessibility, play value, inclusion, materiality and design, the playground will be replaced in 2023. Park district staff seek to create a participatory playground design process where more users are encouraged to provide input, more visitors feel welcome, and the new playground is even more enchanting.
Playground Master Planning
The Urbana Park District is working with Upland Design Ltd., a firm which leads many destination playground and park planning processes in Illinois, engages communities in innovative and exciting ways, and understands the industry trends and best practices. The master plan process is expected to take 6-8 months with a plethora of public input opportunities guided by both the consultant and park district staff. Construction of the new playground and surrounding amenities is planned for 2023.
How Can You Get Involved?
The next round of community involvement will take place in December.
click here to take survey.
The upcoming input period will build upon previous surveys and ask community members preferences on playground idea images (climbing, swinging, balancing, etc) and site amenities (shade, benches, art).
December 1-14 - online survey
December 7, 5:30-6:30 - virtual public meeting
Park district staff will also visit after school programs in Urbana to facilitate input from students.
Throughout October, Urbana Park District staff visited Meadowbrook Park to begin gathering ideas from playground users. Surveys were administered on-site and through an online form, with 227 total responses. This round of input helped park district staff better understand the values of the community, before diving into things like themes, materials, or specific designs.
Click here to view survey 1 results.
There will be many more input opportunities in the future! Email Kara Dudek, Park Planner, at email@example.com to be notified via email of both the opportunities for input or to get your concrete paver back. Please do not remove pavers on your own.
Meadowbrook Playground In the News:
New Meadowbrook Park Playground Slated for 2023 - ChambanaMoms.com
Tom's #Mailbag, May 8, 2020 | Tom's Mailbag | news-gazette.com