The Friends of Stewart Park has been working with designers, school children, parents and the Ithaca community to craft a plan for a new Stewart Park Playground. Essential to the new design is accessibility for all children, accommodation for every age group and a centralized, cohesive design. Occupying half the area of the current playground, the greater density will provide for a more engaging play experience and free up space for other forms of recreation. This is a playground for the entire community and your feedback is crucial.

meet the design team2
a unique ithaca experience With a rich history, a gorgeous vista and a central role in the public life of Ithacans, Stewart Park is a unique place; An off-the-shelf playground will not do it justice. That is why Friends of Stewart Park is working with the design team to make a playground that is unique and respectful of it’s location. Structures like the central tower, parents’ pavilion, play-stage and bridge are a whimsical interpretation of Stewart Park’s historic buildings. The spray park, berm and sand creek allude to the grandeur of Ithaca’s gorges, hills and wetlands. Play equipment adopts familiar forms: waterfowl, boats, trolleys and the playground itself blends seamlessly into the landscape.

everyone Our commitment to accessibility is what initially prompted Friends of Stewart Park to take on the task of designing a new playground. Today, little of the existing play equipment can accommodate children with special-needs. A curb around the spray park, lack of pathways, isolated equipment and coarse play-area surfacing create additional difficulties for the mobility impaired. Our design team’s goal is to create a playground that is not just accessible, but inclusive, allowing children of all ability levels to play side by side. The central berm slopes gently upward to the tower, which provides access to adjacent play systems. Paths, bridges and a smoother play surface will all serve to enhance user mobility and access to play features. Watch this video to learn more about how truly meaningful and needed these inclusive elements are for everyone.

spray play As it becomes quickly apparent to any visitor of Stewart Park, the playground’s spray pad is its most popular feature. The new playground will expand and enhance spray play into an interactive experience, using new water-conserving nozzles and spray systems. The overall design is meant to allude to Ithaca’s gorges and waterfalls.

not just for kids George Bernard Shaw said: “We don’t stop playing playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.” At the new Stewart Park playground our goal is to keep everyone playing. An adult fitness and recreation area is intended to help adults and the elderly stay active and playful. A pavilion, a smaller rendition of the existing tea pavilion, will provide a space for parents to supervise their children while visiting the playground.

Your playgroundAs this design continues to develop we need your feedback to insure it is representative of your needs. Send us your comments and questions using this form. Comment on new proposals as they appear on our Facebook page. Stay involved and up to date on community design meetings and developments by registering for our E-newsletter.