Wednesday, August 4, 2010

the new woodside park

Several new improvements have just been completed at Woodside Park, including new playgrounds and a skate spot. It's just the first phase of a planned, much larger renovation of the park, located at Georgia Avenue and Spring Street outside downtown Silver Spring.

New Woodside Park Skate Spot
Of course, the star of the show is the new skate spot. Even though it opened several months behind schedule, it must be a record turnaround for the Parks Department - it was proposed last fall, meetings were held with local skaters and the neighbors through the spring, and it opened last Friday.

The skate spot was designed and built by Spohn Ranch, a California-based company that's built some 450 parks worldwide, according to their website. On their blog, they boast about the "diversity of shade-giving trees" in Woodside Park that lend the skate spot a "peaceful ambiance."

With skateboarding officially banned in Veterans Plaza, skaters were already in the park when I visited last Wednesday, two days before it officially opened. Earlier this week, friend of JUTP and awesome photographer Chip Py stopped by to see it in action.

Photos by Chip Py.

Last fall, play equipment in the park dating to the 1980's (not long before a young Dan Reed hung out there) was removed after years of decay and neglect. Broken slides and boarded-up jungle gyms have been replaced by new, brightly-colored pieces.
Woodside Park New Jungle Gym

The new zip line must be for training aspiring mountaineers, though I wonder if it'll give the little ones as much exercise as a set of monkey bars.
Woodside Park New Zip Line

In a nod to the future, the bouncy ducky and bouncy frog have been replaced by a bouncy spaceship.
Woodside Park New Space Ship

I believe this might be the bouncy space station. It took me a minute to figure out what it was. I bet kids will like this a lot.
Woodside Park New Bouncy Thing
Me in Sligo Creek Park. Photo by Kurt Williams.

Some of y'all might remember a time when playgrounds were designed to teach kids via pain - as in, don't jump off the tall metal thing slide, because the woodchips will not break your fall. If I were here any longer, I'd make a map of remaining old-school playgrounds. The other week, I discovered there's a tall metal slide in Sligo Creek Park (enter near Park Valley Road in Takoma Park). How exciting! You can bet I went down it a million times.


Terry in Silver Spring said...

"Some of y'all might remember a time when playgrounds were designed to teach kids via pain - as in, don't jump off the tall metal thing slide, because the woodchips will not break your fall."

Other lessons:

- Silver colored metal gets HOT in the summer sun (slides and bars)

- If you are pretty sure you can climb up there, are you equally sure you can get back down?

- Do not put anything you pick up at the playground in your mouth. It won't taste good and either your mother or your teacher will freak out.

retgroclk said...

'...because the woodchips will not break your fall...'
Hell when I was growing up it was asphalt or concrete that would break your fall.

We had this metal contraption about ten or fifteen feet tall- when you fell off you landed on concrete.

You would get the wind knocked out of you,cuts and scrapes-- did we complain, did our parents sue-oh no- we would climb on those monkey bars and do it again.

And eating things on the ground- we ate grass, honeysuckle, chewed on saasafras root and wild carrot, wild mulberries and when we were thirsty-we drank water out of the creek-
Sligo Creek water was pretty tasty on a hot day.
Did we get sick- no did our parents sue when we fell off the monkey bars-no.

Those were the good old days.

Bob Fustero

Clancy said...

My childhood memories are more in line with retgroclk's. My hometown was the site of a famed trading post and fort. As a result, in the 1970s, many of the park equipment was western and frontier themed. My grade school had actual mini-forts made of logs and the like. One contained a raised platform about 7-8 feet off the ground with a fireman's pole through a hole in the floor. The ground was, like retgroclk indicated for him, asphalt. I remember many, many broken arms and bruised behinds because of those forts!

When I first played with my toddler at Woodside after the renovation, I joked with my wife that the space shuttle rocker was likely an attempt to go retro, or pull at the nostalgic yearnings of the other 30-something and 40-something parents there. Otherwise, nothing says "new" like a toy based on a 35-year old program about to be put on mothballs!