Town Square

Post a New Topic

Let's have more creativity in town - from playgrounds to downtown

Original post made by diana diamond, Palo Alto Online blogger, on Jan 15, 2007

According to recent article in The New York Times about children’s playgrounds, no longer will some NYC playgrounds be a mixture of the same old versions of jungle gyms, swings and slides. In an unusual public-private partnership, the city will replace those physical amusements in one playground with things children can “move and build and create worlds with – sandboxes filled with blocks attached to ropes and pulleys, wheelbarrows, milk crates, etc.” The park would be a model for future parks.

This story contains 584 words.

If you are a paid subscriber, check to make sure you have logged in. Otherwise our system cannot recognize you as having full free access to our site.

If you are a paid print subscriber and haven't yet set up an online account, click here to get your online account activated.

Comments (11)

Like this comment
Posted by KC Marcinik
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Jan 15, 2007 at 7:00 pm

If you've actually been to Mitchell Park lately, you must not have been looking too closely. Eight years ago, when the city had scheduled Mitchell Park for renovation with standard-issue plans and equipment, several neighbors including the sixth grade Connections class at JLS, argued that the original design was unique and shouldn't be scrapped or ignored. The Parks Department, with encouragement from the Architectural Review Board, agreed to re-think the re-design. They even consulted the original architect of the park, Robert Royston.

Many of the best parts of the original design were retained and refurbished, including the tunnels / gopher holes and the unique lanterns. i would say it is still a creative playground.

Like this comment
Posted by Judy Gittelsohn
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 17, 2007 at 9:23 pm

Hello Diana;

Thanks for paying attention to Parks.

This year Mitchell Park will be celebrating it's 50th anniversary. It continues to be studied in universities around the world for its ground breaking concepts and designs. The landscape architect Robert Royston is still living and a book was recently released on the impact of his work.

In 1999 many of the original features were slated for removal. ( See comment above) Due to community activism important aspects of the park and play structures were retained. Mitchell Park is a marvel in our midst. We need to celebrate and honor its existence.

I agree - the world needs open social and play spaces - and more of them. I hope we can build contemporary thoughtful spaces like New York has done and I hope we can recognize a treasure we've fought to hold on to here.

Judy Gittelsohn

Like this comment
Posted by Carol
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jan 18, 2007 at 8:42 am

Back when Midtown was being "re-created" a few years ago "they" asked for community input as to what we would like to see there. I and a few others suggested a plaza type area where we could sit and drink coffee with perhaps a small play structure for toddlers, all done with amibience. This idea was ignored and instead we have a very ugly collection of strip malls, with a few tables outside many coffee shops. There is no where for young children to play while parents drink coffee and there is nowhere to eat outside the one sandwich shop (subway) and instead the staff illegally park their cars outside. Now where was any design in all of this I ask you?

Like this comment
Posted by Diana Diamond
Palo Alto Online blogger
on Jan 18, 2007 at 10:10 am

Diana Diamond is a registered user.

Carol - I think a plaza-type area in Mikdtown is a great idea. The entire shopping area in Midtown does need some planning -- including a better parking arrangement.


Like this comment
Posted by PA Resident
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 18, 2007 at 10:46 am

I think more parking is actually needed in the Midtown area, along with serious rearrangement of the lots. How would we be able to fit in a plaza-type area? I'm all for it, but seems like a very challenging issue considering the parking space limitations. What was the original plaza idea? Is there anywhere to see it? Thanks.

Like this comment
Posted by Carol
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jan 18, 2007 at 1:55 pm

As I remember it, before the plans were made in Midtown, local residents were sent surveys (or it might have been in the Weekly) as to what we wanted. I replied (along with some neighbours) suggested a plaza type area. We heard nothing and so supposedly it was ignored. This was before Safeway was redone and before Walgreens, and at that stage, if Walgreens was moved to where its parking lot is, something creative could have been done without affecting the number of parking spots. From my experience, there is always plenty of parking behind Walgreens that no one uses, probably because it is felt that it should be for Walgreens customers only.

Like this comment
Posted by KC Marcinik
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Jan 18, 2007 at 4:14 pm

Did the parking behind Walgreen's replace the community garden that used to be there (when the Walgreen's was the Co-op? That would be a good place for a pocket park that would serve the surrounding neighborhood. It's not very visible from most of the shopping center, but that neighborhood, bounded by Oregon, E. Meadow, Louis and Middlefield, is one of the largest areas of Palo Alto without a park.

Like this comment
Posted by KC Marcinik
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Jan 18, 2007 at 4:30 pm

In Scottsdale and Tempe, AZ, over the last 20-30 years, they have changed all of the former concrete flood channels and dry creeks into a more or less continuous series of parks and open space areas. The space is attractive and in constant recreational use, and noone suffers property damage during the floods. It's probably too late to do this in Palo Alto, but there is a section of Matadero Creek that runs alongside the Winter Lodge property (parking and second driveway). It would be great to see a more natural treatment of the creek at that point, that would also serve as park area.

Like this comment
Posted by A.J.
a resident of Green Acres
on Jan 18, 2007 at 8:31 pm

The word among moms in my group is that the main draw to Mitchell is the bathroom. Although the kids play there just as happily as anywhere else that has rocks, dirt, and leaves, for moms Mitchell can be a trial because of the location of the different play areas and lack of shade. I'm glad they didn't get rid of the cool tunnels, but I do think it could have been improved...

However, Dianna, your point is taken about creativity. Creativity is a good way to get better quality of life without spending money.

Like this comment
Posted by A.J.
a resident of Green Acres
on Jan 18, 2007 at 8:36 pm

I'd have to see this proposed design in New York. Anything that isn't nailed down at parks tends to walk away. That leads to greater maintenance costs (or parks quickly seem dilapidated).

The redo of Briones Park has been judged a success by kids and grownups. The only thing they could have done better, by all accounts, is add a bathroom!

Like this comment
Posted by Bert
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Jan 24, 2007 at 9:21 am

>• How about turning the plaza in front of city hall
>into a park filled with tables and chairs

How about adding a "speaker's corner" (like Hyde Park in London) to this to get some entertainment while sipping?

Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.


Post a comment

Posting an item on Town Square is simple and requires no registration. Just complete this form and hit "submit" and your topic will appear online. Please be respectful and truthful in your postings so Town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

We prefer that you use your real name, but you may use any "member" name you wish.

Name: *

Select your neighborhood or school community: * Not sure?

Comment: *

Verification code: *
Enter the verification code exactly as shown, using capital and lowercase letters, in the multi-colored box.

*Required Fields

You Dirty Little Thing
By Laura Stec | 8 comments | 7,596 views

Celebrity chef pulls out of BFD Menlo Park; to reopen as new concept
By Elena Kadvany | 6 comments | 3,214 views

“Housewife” a Journey of Transgender Marriage
By Chandrama Anderson | 0 comments | 1,713 views

Holiday LEGO Show
By Cheryl Bac | 2 comments | 900 views

New traditions in an ancient land
By Sally Torbey | 2 comments | 475 views