Hey, kids!
Concepts presented for new toddler playground on waterfront
by Marilyn Baer
Reporter Staff Writer
Mar 12, 2017 | 4075 views | 0 0 comments | 117 117 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The current playground at Maxwell Park is aimed toward older children and not toddlers.
The current playground at Maxwell Park is aimed toward older children and not toddlers.
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After residents gave feedback at a meeting last August on a proposed toddler playground at the public Maxwell Park on the waterfront, the designers returned March 2 to present three concepts.

There’s already a playground at the park, on Sinatra Drive near 11th Street, that looks out at the waterfront. But it caters to older children.
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“The reason I am so excited about moving this forward is it’s a perfect example of a public and private partnership.” – Councilwoman Tiffanie Fisher.
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Apple Montessori School and the city have hired Suburban Consulting Engineers Inc. to add to the playground. “This project is part of a proposed private/public partnership with Apple Montessori Schools,” director of Environmental Services Leo Pellegrini in August. “Their foundation, the Seth Morris 9/11 Foundation, approached the city about wanting to donate additional equipment for the park in the form of a toddler park. They have paid for all of the expenses for the planning so far. And if this project has community backing and also the support of the City Council, they will pay for all the equipment and the construction as well.”

“The reason I am so excited about moving this forward is it’s a perfect example of a public and private partnership,” said Councilwoman Tiffanie Fisher.

History

The original August proposals included rubber safety surfacing, a play structure for 1-year-olds to 2.5-year-olds, benches, a memorial plaque, activity panels, and a 4-foot-high fence.

The only difference between the initial concepts was where the playground would be placed. Concept One included the existing playground area and extends it to the north to include playground materials for children ages 1 to 2.5. Concept Two would separate the new playground from the existing playground by placing it to the west on a triangular field of grass. The areas would also be separated by fencing and the existing sidewalk.

Three new concepts

After receiving public feedback on those two concepts, the designers returned with three new concepts. The main difference among them is exactly where they are placed, and how separate they are from the existing playground.

Fisher said based on what she heard from the public during the meeting, people may be leaning towards concept one or two.

“I don’t have kids,” Fisher said. “I’m more sympathetic than I am empathetic but I totally get the rationale that a parent may have a toddler and may also have a 5 or 6-year-old, so not separating the parks from one another, and have their children play in a similar area, may be ideal.”

In Concept 1 the toddler playground will be placed to the east of the existing playground surrounded by trees and benches and a 4-foot high decorative fence. The toddler park will include a play structure, activity panel, shade structure, and poured in place rubber safety surfacing. The playground will be separated from the existing park with a fence, a concrete sidewalk, and separate entrance.

In Concept 2 the new toddler area would be located north of the existing playground separated by a 4-foot high fence and will include its own entrance, benches, shade structures, a play structure, activity panel and poured in place rubber safety surfacing as well as trees and a memorial plaque near the entrance.

In the third and final concept, the existing swing area, located to the south of the existing playground, will be replaced by the toddler playground. The swing area will be relocated to the east of the existing playground for older children. The new swing area will be surrounded by benches and trees, have rubber surfacing, and be separated by the playground with a gated fence. The toddler play area will include the same amenities as the previous concepts.

What’s next?

According to Pellegrini the feedback he received at the community meeting was that the city should move forward with a toddler playground. He said the city’s next steps will be to put the concepts on the city website and allow for public feedback.

He said, “I will then schedule a public hearing to show the finalized plan, and then the council will meet and vote on it. We will try and be as quick as possible.

According to city spokesman Juan Melli, the community can provide feedback until March 26 online at www.hobokennj.gov/maxwellparksurvey.

Marilyn Baer can be reached at marilynb@hudsonreporter.com.

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