Thursday, June 16, 2016

Neighborhood Park

The doc said to take it easy this week (no heavy housework or even laundry - what a pity!) but it would be ok to try a short walk around the block. I gave it a go yesterday when the sun came out, a slow amble to relish the clean fresh air and warm rays on my back. I yearned to continue over to the small park that's been developing over the last couple of years, just to sit and enjoy the view, but that would have definitely been more than around the block and I could feel I didn't have it in me yet. But I'd taken pictures of the park a few weeks ago so what better time to share them with you than this?

I don't know who this McNearney is that the park and adjacent street are named after, but I do know that he donated the land that made it possible for the new animal shelter to be built. The rest of the block behind the shelter had gone undeveloped, just an uneven weedy swath waiting for something. I noted that the kids were riding their bikes at the end closest to the street where I walked, not sure if someone had officially turned this corner into a track or the kids had just taken advantage of the natural terrain.

The next bit of improvement I noticed was that the cross street that ended at the other end of this lot was extended out to McNearney Street, then paved and curbed. Looked all in the world to me like someone was about to develop the land with housing, except the curbing had no dips for driveways. A few months later, trees appeared along the street and I was still thinking this must be for more housing. Guess they'll have to rework those curbs...

Eventually, I noted areas that had been leveled, cleared and seeded, and a few things like this fencing popping up. Could this be a park? I could scarce believe it. Eventually I caught up with someone doing some work there who confirmed that yes, this land had been donated to the City of Ponderay for a park, and it was slowly coming together.

And it has been slow, the additions of landscaping and typical park amenities popping up one by one over last summer. So surprised by the blue bench and water fountain.

On the end opposite the bike pump track, this play area for the little kids slowly came into being. Picnic tables were recently added and I've seen families stopping by to eat their take-out and watch their little ones play. Build it and they will come.

There's a path that cuts along this end of the park, back along a line of cottonwood trees, eventually looping around another bike area and along the back side of the park.

As it loops back toward the play area, it skirts a practice area for kids just learning how to maneuver through a pump track.

There's this lovely stone area I suspect for parents to watch their kids as they work through the practice area. It almost looks like a small stage which makes me wonder if the designers of the park had that in mind.

From this angle I can get a good shot of the blue bench, this time with blue trash receptacle. I'm so intrigued by that blue! I want to sketch this but will have to do it standing or sitting on the ground - no seating available to capture this view.

Here's another view of that train engine in the play area. Kids can climb inside, through, over, while the dinosaur looks on. 

You may have noticed in an earlier picture that there is a rather high berm along the back of the park. Kids can ride their bikes up there too, with challenging ups and downs, no worry of adults shooing them away because they will ruin the hillside. No, this park was built for them.

Another recent and surprising addition (at least surprising to me), is this repair/service station. There's a pump for putting air in your tires and a collection of tools on a chain for tightening and adjusting and who knows what. More of that outstanding blue!

The park was officially dedicated earlier this year, and more and more signage has gone up, more landscaping put in place. Here's another view of the pump track.

And more of that wonderful old-fashioned zig-zag fencing. There's art inspiration there.

I've saved what I think is one of the best parts for last. This spring I noticed signs up at intervals along that path that loops along the back of the park. Encased in laminate, these are stories for young kids, but instead of sitting to read a book, the kids read a "page", answer questions posed at the bottom and follow instructions of how to proceed to the next "page". Even I found this fun to follow, and could just imagine how a group of young kids would respond, having at one point in my life been a library aide who read stories to groups of little ones. The stories change (I think about once a month or so) and there is a notebook at the end where you can record responses to the experience. Such a brilliant idea.

So what was once a weedy dirt heap is now blossoming into a beautiful little park that I look forward to looping through on my daily walks. Curious to know what other additions will pop up, and especially anxious for the trees to grow tall enough to start providing some shade.

1 comment:

Living to work - working to live said...

This sounds charming. And glad you're on the mend. X