Have you rebuilt a playground? No, me neither. That’s why I’m still so thankful and in awe of the wonderful women who have joined in the Project to Rebuilding AP Rounds Playground. Rachel is experienced in property development and preservation and has managed projects worth 10s of million of dollars. Jessie is an experienced landscape designer. And both have led and facilitated design charrettes.

We had the first (of two) design charrettes this week on Tuesday, and I have to admit, I was very impressed with how it went. I made some cookies and muffins and brought two kids – that was pretty much the extent of my contribution to this event. So here is a quick write-up of what went on, and we hope to see even more people at the next Design-a-Playground Event on Thursday, June 23 at 6pm at the Stoneham Senior Center.

Posterboard of existing structures and snacks

Tania made a beautiful poster board with photos her son took of the existing playground structures at AP Rounds. And to keep the conversation going… do you have any thoughts on the equipment that is currently there? Please add comments to the -er- comments section below 😉

We did a short round of introductions and broke out the crayons, pencils and paper. The first break-out session task was to draw or write down what you would like to see at the new AP Rounds playground.

Alex drew a lot of circles. Jen added little squiggles. Yes, it’s a bit tricky to understand what a 20month old is saying, but Alex assured me that Jen would also like some monkey bars, a tire swing, a slide, and a sprinkler area. Good to know what the large number of circles meant. HA!

The second break-out session was supposed to be about figuring out what we should keep of the current playground equipment, but that was short and sweet, since everyone agreed that none of it should really stay.

Rachel, Tania, and Jessie did an excellent job getting the kids to stand up in front and explain their drawings. A picture says a thousand words, right? Well, sometimes you need some words, but here are some pictures of the pictures. It will be Jessie’s job as our volunteer landscape designer to integrate all of those thoughts into a coherent plan to present to the town Selectmen.

Tania, Rachel, Jessie and I brought various snacks and utensils (all paid for out of our own money, like everything else we have bought so far). Henry’s Catering in Malden donated a huge tray of very delicious stuffed shells. And we are also sending a big thank you to Stoneham Town, for letting us use the Town Hall banquet hall and their projector.

Hope you can come to the next design session – we really want to hear from you! And while we could just get everyone to send in their pictures, it is a special time for the community to share, and the kids think it’s the best party ever to plan a playground.

This blog post first appeared on the Stoneham Patch HERE.

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