Kiwanis Park, Paul Horne, Pittsboro, North Carolina, 2009

Paul Horne of the Pittsboro. NC Parks Department involved an impressive list of community members in the renovation of their Kiwanis park, and salvaged slabs of a huge felled oak to serve as imaginative lily pads in a garden ‘pond’. Other wood pieces were recyled as a car and a curved seating bench that is intentionally integrated into the playspace, to pull in the grown-ups, rather than leaving them hovering ’round the edges as most playgrounds do. They’ve recently hosted a sculpture exhibit, featuring the works of local artists, at the playground.
Renovations include doubling the play space, the addition of colorful shade cloths, 10 new trees plus a variety of shrubs and perennial flowers. Natural play features have been added including two sandboxes, a boulder climbing area, and a unique carved wooden car, along with benches, a hop-scotch area and an incredible “Clyde critter.”
I have been hearing passionately positive feedback from parents, and seeing enthusiastic kids every time I’m out there. My day was made Thursday when a woman confided that she “wished they had something like this in Chapel Hill.” I’ve also heard it described as a “wonderland.” Word must be getting around because I’ve seen higher attendance at the park than ever before. “
I think it’s important to note that this project was the renovation of an existing site that still includes traditional, poles-and-platform equipment…it’s an excellent model for the addition of natural play spaces to existing playgrounds. Well-done, Pittsboro!

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