The playground at Larkspur's Piper Park has been a family go-to for over twenty years. But after two decades, the playground was becoming dated and well loved. It was time for a major redesign.
In 2015, the Larkspur Department of Public Works reached out to residents on what they would like to see included in the new play structures. This included equipment as well as the overall theme. With over seven years designing play areas under her belt Public Works analyst Rita Schooch spearheaded the playground's revitalization.
“People wanted a natural theme — not something nautical or based around a princess’s castle,” Schoch says. “And everyone was glad to hear we were not going to get rid of the swings.”
Schooch used her experience to choose new structures that would be appealing and entertaining to all types of families. “The Cozy Cocoon has room for a parent and toddler or two friends to swing together,” says Schoch, pointing to a large, hanging, ball-shaped swing. “It also provides vestibular stimulation, which is very comforting for kids with autism or other disabilities.”
The playground is geared toward children of all ages, offering new experiences as they mature. A perfect example is the Apollo merry-go-round. With the appearance of a tree perched on top of a circular foundation, "children can begin sitting on the bottom with their mom and grow up to riding at the top on their own,” says Schooch.
According to the park website, "almost any time of day, children of all sizes can be seen climbing, jumping, swinging, spinning, laughing and having a good time! By design, some of the equipment is more challenging so kids can experiment on "scarier" pieces and feel the thrill of accomplishment when they finally reach their individual goals."
The park reopened in April with a ribbon cutting event and has been a huge hit with children and their families. The $275,000 playground was funded by the 2012 County of Marin Measure A funds in addition to revenue from city building permits. Says, Schooch, “We’re seeing about 10 times as many kids out there playing. I love watching families approach the new playground and get excited about what to do first.”
Piper Park is located at 250 Doherty Drive and is open from 9am to 9pm daily.
Article excerpt from MarinIJ.com