Just a few weeks ago I received an email alert about a 7-year-old girl’s death on a playground in the State of Washington. This recent death of a young girl has once again placed our public playgrounds under the microscope of media scrutiny. I have a concern with how the media and public playground owners are reacting to this story. Some public agency governing boards and administrators have already taken action even though the facts of the case are still under investigation.
Many parks and recreation departments across the United States develop an important planning tool referred to as The Park Classification Plan. This plan is an effort on the part of community planners to ensure that residents have available the proper number of parks, in the best locations for use, with just the right amenities. This requires a thoughtful collection of key information and the application of high quality decision making. Playgrounds, associated areas, and equipment are critical to a well-conceived park plan. The following is a quick refresher in the development of this planning tool.