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Cambridge Common playground reopens


More than seven months after breaking ground, the newly renovated Alexander W. Kemp Playground at Cambridge Common is finally open to the public. And judging by the squeals of delight coming from inside, its pint-sized patrons couldn't be happier.

According to preliminary plans presented in June 2008, designers of the new playground hoped to create a space that would meet the needs of different ages and encourage greater interactivity while blending in with the surroundings. From the look of things, they've achieved their objectives.

An emphasis on imaginative play begins at the entrance to the park where a small door hidden within the whimsical iron gate lures explorers into this new wonderland. Once inside, the lot is broken up into a series of interconnected "play zones":  a fantasy area with shipwrecked dragon boat; an elevated play area with hand and foot cleats, climbing net, and recessed slide; a construction zone with sand pit, water tables, building blocks, pulleys, and a conveyor belt; and a movement area with swings, see-saw, and a fully accessible roundabout.

Climbing features such as finished tree limbs, trunks, and stumps provide functional transitions between the zones that complement the natural environment, while large, hand carved benches offer caregivers a comfortable place to sit and watch the action.

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