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Design consultant gathers outline possibilities for Nashua playground

NASHUA — A design consultant for the future Legacy Playground outlined several options for the accessible playground this week while collecting input from residents and city officials.

“In this case, the client is this large public,” Jennifer Brooke of the Institute for Human Centered Design in Boston told aldermen on Wednesday.

The Board of Aldermen recently granted Leadership Greater Nashua permission to construct the state’s largest accessible playground along the east side of Greeley Park. The Institute for Human Centered Design has since been hired to design the play structure, which could cost up to $250,000 — a gift to the city from the leadership group.

“We want to get as much feedback as we can,” said Brooke, adding the real spirit of an accessible playground is integration, which will allow children of all abilities to play cooperatively.

There are several different pieces of equipment that should be considered in the design phase of the playground, including platform swings for wheelchairs, community swings for multiple children, spinning structures, roller slides, non-sloped slides, sand and water features, according to Brooke.

She suggested a possible merry-go-round device, a vertical play wall, sand box and slide built into an existing sloped hill. The proposed playground is about 12,000 square feet, and should incorporate jumping, digging, climbing, hanging, swinging and bouncing features, Brooke said.

“Budget is relevant in these decisions,” she said.

Several aldermen offered their thoughts on the future playground.

“I like the idea of the space being artistic,” said Alderman David Schoneman, Ward 3, adding the idea of a sensory vertical wall was appealing. Currently, residents enjoy sunbathing and reading in that area of Greeley Park, and Schoneman said he wants to still give those visitors a chance to enjoy the space in collaboration with the playground.

He suggested a nearby pathway be incorporated into the plans, as well as equipment to encourage gross motor skills and sensory skills.

Alderman-at-Large Jim Donchess encouraged Brooke to use her own judgement and creativity in helping to design Legacy Playground.

“The parks that you show us are so imaginative,” said Donchess, describing some of them as “works of art.”

The goal, according to Brooke, is to create a community resource for all kids — despite their age, interests and mobility levels — to play side-by-side.

“It seems like the possibilities are endless,” said Alderwoman Pam Brown, who envisions the space being transformed into a wonderful area for the city.


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