While most communities recognize the importance of playgrounds and outdoor fitness spaces, securing them can be a challenge. There are safety standards to adhere to, a budget to follow and a community to get on board. Fortunately, we have a few tips and strategies that can help you overcome these challenges and make a new playground a reality.
Let’s explore some common challenges communities face when trying to establish a new playground and effective strategies to overcome them.
One of the primary challenges in building a new playground is securing the necessary funding. Playgrounds require a significant investment in equipment, safety measures and maintenance. At first glance, the pricing may seem out of reach for some communities.
To overcome this challenge, start by exploring a combination of public and private funding sources. Local government grants, community fundraising events, corporate sponsorships and partnerships with local businesses are all potential avenues for securing the financial resources needed.
If you choose to partner with Cunningham Recreation, be sure to ask about Play 4 All, a campaign that aligns resources for playground projects. This service is available to all of our customers at no additional cost. Play 4 All, can help you champion your play and fitness projects over the finish line.
Gaining community support is crucial for any playground project. However, it can be challenging to engage residents effectively, especially if they range in age. Empty nesters or young singles may not see the value in spending money on a playground, but the truth is that play and fitness spaces benefit the whole community.
To spread awareness about the benefits of having an active community, host community meetings, conduct surveys and create social media groups. Plus, these are effective ways to involve the community in the decision-making process. Residents are more open to supporting these projects when they feel seen and heard.
Site Selection and Zoning Issues
Choosing an appropriate location for the play and fitness spaces and navigating through zoning regulations can be a challenging task. To address this issue, collaborate with local government officials, city planners and zoning authorities. This way, you can identify potential sites that comply with zoning regulations.
With the correct information on hand, you can pick the best space for the playground and present a compelling case. Consider additional aspects that will make your playground enjoyable and accessible, such as parking, bathroom facilities, shaded areas, walking and bike paths and open space for adding an adjacent outdoor fitness space, dog park or challenge course one day.
Inclusivity and Accessibility
Ensuring that the playground is inclusive and accessible to all members of the community is a common challenge, but one that can be solved with an inclusive playground design. Design the playground with features and equipment that accommodate all ages and abilities such as:
- Sensory activities
- Modified swings
- Social spaces
- Quiet spaces
- Inclusive seating
- Embankment slides
- Opportunities for intergenerational play
- Adjacent outdoor fitness equipment
- Accessible parking
Maintenance and Long-Term Sustainability
Once a playground or destination park is established, ongoing maintenance and long-term sustainability become key challenges. Develop a comprehensive maintenance plan and collaborate with local volunteers or maintenance crews to ensure regular upkeep. Also look into potential partnerships with local businesses or organizations that may sponsor ongoing maintenance in exchange for visibility and positive community engagement.
At Cunningham Recreation, we recommend Playground Guardian, a full-service playground safety and maintenance solution that includes on-site inspection services, equipment sanitizing and safety surfacing and impact testing.
Make a New Playground or Destination Park a Reality for Your Community
Building a new playground or destination park with play and fitness opportunities in your town may present various challenges, but with strategic planning, community engagement and perseverance, these obstacles can be overcome. To learn more about the play and fitness solutions available for your community, contact Cunningham Recreation. We are a one-stop shop. We provide customers with solutions, as we will work with you to secure funding, design and build your playground or fitness space and create a sustainable maintenance plan.