After months of planning, which included a community visioning session at Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley’s office, the Parks Department showed their plans for the new Rosemary’s Playground to Community Board 5’s (CB 5) Parks Committee on Sept. 12.
The main features of the renovations will be brand-new swing sets and play equipment for two age groups, kids 2-5 and kids 5-12; a new spray shower area that can be used all year; seating and picnic areas; and new plantings, as well as removing the two large elevated flower beds, six small flowering trees and two small street trees.
“We don’t know the designs of the water [features] yet, but we’re going to have a spray shower that for 2- to 5- [year-olds], a spray shower for 5- to 12- [year-olds],” CB 5 Parks Committee Chair Steven Fiedler announced during CB 5’s monthly meeting in Middle Village on Sept. 13. “All hand-activated and then shuts off after a couple of minutes so we’re not wasting water all the way through.”
Even though there will be many new editions to the playground, two features will remain: the comfort station and the mosaic wall.
One major change that has some on the board concerned is the proposed reduction of the playground’s perimeter fence. The fence is currently 7 feet tall, and the proposal is to drop the height to 4 feet. The purpose of lowering the fences, the city contends, is so that parents and patrolling police officers can have a clear line of sight across the park.
The issue brought up against lowering the perimeter fence was that it would just invite the homeless to enter the park after hours to sleep, which has already been an ongoing problem at the playground.
The Parks Committee, along with members of the Friends of Rosemary’s Playground group, also suggested extending the fencing around the new spray shower area so children could not just run through the sprinklers and right out of the park.
Aside from the new play features, Rosemary’s Playground will receive an abundant amount of new benches for parents to relax as their children enjoy the park, or for people to just sit and take in some sun or read a book in the shade provided by the park’s many trees.
There will also be a new water fountain, garbage cans, picnic tables, bike racks and six LED lamp posts.
“We are excited about the new plans for Rosemary’s Playground,” Ellen Knechel said on behalf of the Friends of Rosemary’s Playground. “We look forward to continuing to work with the Parks Department to ensure that the playground equipment adequately accommodates the number of children who use the playground.”
The Parks Committee will send their requests — specifically the fencing issue — back to Parks Department for consideration before any renovations are started.