Published on March 21st, 2016 |0
Playful event with 2 ribbon cuttings opens new Chastain Park playground
The celebration of the $2.8 million redevelopment of the Chastain Park playground was truly a play party with food, drinks, entertainment and a brief program. But mostly it was play.
Jennifer Richter, the chairperson of the Chastain Park Conservancy and emcee for the brief formal program, pointed out that the Play Chastain project began with the Conservancy’s vice chair Jay Smith, who saw “the playground could be more than it was.”
That started the movement to build a world-class playground to serve children from near and far, of all ages who come to the park. “The dream of a world-class playground is a reality,” Richter proclaimed.
The six-acre tree-lined, hilly terrain oasis and outdoor natural learning environment was envisioned by some of the estimated 80,000 children who live within five miles of the park and participated in park play events or school visits by Conservancy representatives where they described the playground they wanted.
That dream playground is designed to challenge them to use their muscles as well as their imaginations, from a gentle area for tots to challenging
experiences for teens.
Two long and bumpy slides, donated by YP.com (today’s Yellow Pages), sit side-by-side, inviting children (and adults) to race each other. There’s a smaller slide for little ones. Boulders and tree stumps invite scrambles up a steep hillside. Three giant ‘oodle’ swings accommodate two, or more, children at once. There is a climbing wall and a place where children can make music on drums and chimes. And there is a tree house. Like everything else in the playground, it is wheelchair accessible.
As for the official ceremony, there were not just one, but two ribbon cuttings—one for the official opening of the playground, the second to introduce an artist-decorated outdoor piano, a gift of the Brett family of Sandy Springs who decided to locate its “Play Me Again Pianos” program at Chastain Park’s playground.
The acoustic piano is located at the new pavilion at the playground area and is there for the public to come and play. Play Me Again Pianos is a clone of an international program called Play Me I’m Your’s, which places pianos that have been painted into pieces of art in public places for children and adults to play as they desire.
City Councilwoman Yolanda Adrean, who has worked with the Conservancy to make the playground a reality, quoted former TV show host Mr.
Rogers who said, “Play is the work of childhood.”
Adrean was joined by City Councilwoman Mary Norwood and representatives of the city’s Parks and Recreation Department representing the city at the Saturday event. The city paid for the new pavilion which also has modern restrooms.
Adrean set the tone for the event by stating, “This is where the magic begins. This where we are going to come together to build community.”
Appropriately, the ribbon cutting formally opening the playground included—along with the typical dignitaries, partners in the project and Conservancy board members—had a front row of children of various ages, who were enticed to take a few moments away from their play time to participate.