Indian Road Playground To Be Renovated

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The Indian Road Playground in Isham Park, located in Inwood, is journeying down a warpath towards renovation. Expect to see the playground enhanced with canoes, an expanded sprinkler area, enlarged sand box, and two modern play structures, among other things.

Several representatives of the city's Parks Department, led by Jennifer Hoppa, the Northern Manhattan Parks Administrator, revealed detailed renovation plans to residents attending the monthly Parks and Cultural Affairs meeting that Community Board 12 held on November 6th. Hoppa was joined by the project's manager and senior designer; the three presented a set of illustrations and maps of the park and project. All very impressive.

Here are some details outlined at the meeting:

  • The playground is using "native woodlands," as the designer described it, as an inspiration for incorporating Native American themes into play areas.
  • There will be an enlarged (double the current size) sand box which will include a "dig area" with objects inspired by findings from local archeological digs in the early 20th century.
  • The playground's sprinkler system will be a water area that includes a tyke-sized river for kids to splash around in on warm days.
  • There will be two play structures, one for younger children and one for older. Both are constructed with safety (and fun) in mind and one of them is special-needs accessible (apparently a rarity in New York City.)
  • Total funding for the project is 1.2 million dollars.
  • Construction will begin this spring and is expected to last 9 months to 1 year.
A "scoping meeting" (these meetings involve the Parks Department, Community Board and local residents) in March yielded suggestions from the community, many of which were ultimately implemented in this revamp. Elizabeth Ritter, Chair of the Parks and Cultural Affairs committee for CB12, commented that the designs were reflecting a lot of what was suggested at the scoping meeting in March and were an example of "how government is supposed to work."

There were several concerns raised at the meeting, however, mostly about slides. Local parents and representatives of the Friends of Indian Road Playground suggested that another slide might be added to the design because the two slides pictured in the plans seemed either too advanced for some children or too boring for others, depending on their age group. The representatives from the Parks Department seemed willing to consider this request, perhaps at the expense of some park benches.

Overall, the response was positive, and after the presentation the supporters of the renovation had a chance to chat with and engage with the designers of the new playground. More information about the presentation will most likely be available in CB12's minutes for November. From the plans, the new playground looks really cool. But if you are a parent who shuffles your younglings to the park to burn off excess sugar highs, expect some whining over the the temporary lack of the old stomping ground next spring.

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