Park vision includes huge playground


By Terri Spilman

Carmel Clay Parks and Recreation is getting ready to make a big splash on the grounds of Central Park, and this time it doesn’t involve surf boards and water slides.

The Parks and Recreation board just approved the design development plan for phase one of Central Park West Commons, and it will include the largest community playground in the park system. It will feature picnic shelters, restrooms and approximately 150 new parking spaces.

“The West Commons playground will be the largest playground in our park system, and we fully anticipate it becoming a new destination within Central Park for families with children in and of itself,” said Michael Klitzing, assistant director for Carmel Clay Parks and Recreation.

According to Klitzing, the project will encompass the currently undeveloped meadow on the west side of Central Park between the lagoon and west entry drive coming from College Avenue. Consistent with the 2010 Central Park Master Plan Update, the design development plan includes site plans and conceptual illustrations of the proposed playground and structures.

“With the park board’s approval of this plan, The Schneider Corporation, our design consultant, will now finalize construction documents and prepare the project so we are able to go out to bid in fall 2014. We anticipate preliminary groundwork occurring in late 2014 with most construction occurring in 2015.”

The new playground will be 3 to 4 times larger than the one at Founders Park and will include a soft rubbery surface to meet safety standards as well as design elements to meet the needs of children with physical and cognitive disabilities.

“Hamilton County has the highest cases of autism in the state so it is a community we definitely gave a lot of thought to,” Klitzing said.

Those sensitive to the sun will also benefit from an increased number of shady areas over the equipment and shaded benches for caretakers watching over children on the playground.

The plan also includes a dedicated space for a future spray park to be constructed in a later phase.

“We are definitely very excited about it and fully anticipate it will be a very popular attraction and another feature within Central Park,” Klitzing said.

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