Courtesy Town of Blacksburg Parks and Recreation Department
The Hand-in-Hand playground, a wooden play structure located in Municipal Park, has served the families of Blacksburg for thirty-one years, but the passage of time has brought inevitable wear and tear to the structure. Thus, beginning March 1, the playground will undergo a refresh and renewal, bringing it up to current national safety standards.
Leathers & Associates, the same company that designed the original playground, was once again contracted by the Town of Blacksburg to design and construct the new outdoor experience using modern materials. The new playground will be built on the footprint of the current Hand-in-Hand and will continue to serve ages 2-12.
The refurbished playground will include benches and small tabletops throughout the space and will feature American Disabilities Act (ADA)-compliant engineered wood fiber chips as its base. The natural integrity of the playground will be preserved by the continued presence of shade trees that will be pruned and maintained to encourage healthy long-term growth.
In another nod to the original Hand-in-Hand playground, the existing personalized fence pickets will be refurbished and re-installed as part of a new playground fence. Those who wish to purchase a new engraved picket may do so by visiting Let’s Talk Blacksburg and completing the order form. Each panel costs $75 and can accommodate a maximum of 12 letter spaces. Orders and payment must be made by May 1, 2023 for inclusion in the playground’s grand opening activities. Families may choose to engrave their surname or names of family members, and non-profit organizations may use their name.
The Blacksburg Parks and Recreation department, in partnership with the Blacksburg Housing and Community Connections office, worked to ensure citizens had a voice throughout the design process. Through online and in-person engagement opportunities, citizens worked closely with the town to suggest improvements and additions for the new Hand-in-Hand playground.
“We tried hard to understand the elements of the playground that people loved, and worked to keep those essential elements while creating a base for the new design,” said Kim Thurlow, Manager of Housing and Community Development Initiatives for the town. “Through this thoughtful design that marries the old with the new, citizens will recognize the new playground as the unique ‘hidden castle in the woods’ that they remember, a feeling that is a recognizable hallmark of Hand-in-Hand,” said Thurlow. “Favorite items like the tire bridge will exist alongside exciting new additions of a climbing wall, treehouse, and features that promote accessibility site-wide: ramps, ground-level play features and accessible swings, to name a few. These and other new design concepts that encourage discovery, play, and exploration will ensure Hand-in-Hand remains a local favorite for generations to come.”
The demolition of the current wooden structure is scheduled to begin on March 1, 2023. The completion date of the new playground is projected for May 2023, just in time for summer fun. Families who would like to say their goodbyes to the current Hand-in-Hand structure should plan to stop by this month and are encouraged to visit the new playground this summer.
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