Windsor Castle Park playground construction to start in August

Published 1:01 pm Wednesday, June 22, 2016

By Matt Leonard

Staff Writer

Windsor Castle Park could see construction begin on its first playground come August.

The idea for the “natural play area” has been in the works for a few years, according to Sue Ivy, a Windsor Castle Park Foundation board member. The project is being designed by a company called Natural Playgrounds and is expected to cost $200,000.

Ivy said all of the funds will be raised by the Foundation, and they have $150,000 raised so far. {mprestriction ids=”1,2,3,4,5,6″}

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There will be three different sections as part of the play area. Down the hill from the current dog park will be a toddler play area. A short walk along the path to where the picnic area is there will be another play area with “larger elements” for older children. And, finally, on the creek side of the picnic area, there will be a slide built into the natural slope of the park “for children of all ages,” Ivy said.

The design for the project has already been completed. Ivy said there will be educational elements like a sundial and a weather station, alongside a pebble harp (drop in a small rock and it plays a song), next to a log maze and other elements.

Ivy said the decision to do a playground with a more natural appearance came after surveys done by the Foundation.

“They didn’t want what we call a playground-in-a-box,” she said.

Natural Playground’s website says they try and make it seem as through their play areas have “been there forever.”

“Our natural playgrounds look like miniature natural landscapes, and they’re full of intriguing play and learning opportunities just waiting to be discovered by children of all ages,” the site reads. “Sometimes they’re referred to as ecological parks, play parks, or nature parks.”

When construction begins in August, Ivy said the build will take about four weeks. But after that, she said it will have to sit unused for about a month to allow sod and other plants to grow in the area.

Smithfield Mayor Carter Williams mentioned the project at the State of the County breakfast earlier this month. After mentioning that no taxpayer money will be spent on the project he said people are regularly stopping him in the park to ask where the playground is.

“Well, by golly, we don’t have one now,” he said. But by fall “we will have a playground.”  {/mprestriction}