Sunday, June 20, 2010

Shady but trash-strewn: Cruz Rec Center park

Playground: Cruz Rec. Center
Location: whole city block between 5th-6th, Jefferson-Master (couple blocks north of Girard) -- one playground each in NW and SE corners
Date visited: 6/20/10 (Sunday morning)

Equipment: There are two playgrounds here, separated by a ball field:
  1. Little kid zone is in SE corner (enter at 5th & Master). The main playset has a good mix of steps and climbing equipment, as well as 3 slides (2 metal, straight, 1 plastic, curved) and an arched bridge --- better than average for equipment aimed at littler kids. There is also one old-school freestanding metal slide (maybe 5 feet tall, so ok for toddlers) and a "space capsule" that allows small kids to climb an interior ladder into a curved metal basin that a toddler can stand up in (all about 2 feet off the ground). Four bucket swings and a heap of parent benches complete this zone.
  2. Older kid zone is in the NW corner (gate on Jefferson). There's an old-fashioned metal jungle gym (metal triangles forming a half-sphere), that requires pretty long legs to get onto. Also a more modern playset with lots of things to climb, a fireman's pole, and a single slide (metal, pretty steep). This set was a little beyond the grasp of our 28-month-old, but it might not offer much variety/challenge to actual Big Kids. (The wealth of open space in this park might or might not compensate.) Four strap swings here too.
material: weathered metal/resin (except as noted above), with some graffitti; scale: two medium spaces in a large multipurpose outdoor area
Ages: 1-3, 5-10, respectively?
Surface: rubbery around equipment, blacktop elsewhere
Shade(0-3): 2 (great on toddler playset)
Water: N
Other: large basketball court area, baseball field, extra grassy areas; rec. center has a fenced pool
Access: open (=dawn to dusk?)

Impressions: This large park has a nice range of offerings and runaround spaces, and an unusually good set of mature trees made it feel like a respite on a hot day -- probably a great local resource. However, the park had serious trash issues (not so much glass shards as lots of soda bottles and other containers) and a handful of Old Guys hanging around even on a hot Sunday morning, so it needs a little attention to bring it up to the realm of destination. Still, better than average for a summer day with the toddler set. No idea whether it sees any extra traffic when the school across the street is in session.
Overall rating: 7 (toddler area, 8; older kids, 6)

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