New Playground Is Kid-designed, Tested and Approved!

Penn Park Playground Equipment

City of York’s Penn Park celebrated its largest renovation to date with the help of numerous community groups and the children who play there every day.

This 15-acre park is located in the heart of York, PA. Rich in military history, it served as the location of a Revolutionary War encampment and later a Civil War hospital. Today, it’s host to numerous recreational activities.

Tom Landis, Superintendent of Recreation & Parks, recalls the fun and excitement of “Design Day” in 2012, when students from Saint Patrick’s Catholic School and McKinley Elementary School sketched their vision for the park.

“One of our best practices is consulting with the children who’ll be playing on the playgrounds. They’re our client,” says Tom. “The kids are vivid and detailed about the experiences they want: what they want to imagine, create, explore…what types of challenges they want physically. These needs change also with age.”

After Design Day, Tom’s team, the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) and the local “Bring on Play” (BOP) group worked with General Recreation to develop a renovation plan that reflected both the site’s history of the park and the children’s vision.

In October, they completed phase two of the renovation plan: an extensive community-build for the Youth Play Garden. This new playground is geared for ages 6 to 12. A 20-foot tower – the tallest in the region – includes a PlayBooster® SlideWinder, as well as a long tunnel slide with view tube.

new playground photo Other unique features include a palette based on colors significant during the Civil War era. “We owe the deep red and blue colors to Steve Hemler’s research during the project,” explains Tom, who has worked with Steve on several projects over the past six years. “Steve goes above and beyond. He’s passionate about his work. He’s flexible, thinks outside the box, and is dedicated throughout the entire process.”

Steve also recommended a red and blue speckled poured-in-place playground safety surfaces to complement the play structures. “This added a dimension of color that from a distance looks purple. Not only does it create a great effect, it’s also highly functional. This surfacing will work well with children who may be running barefoot to and from the splash pad and spray garden, which will be installed nearby in 2015,” says Tom.

To learn more about best practices and successful community-builds, contact your General Recreation Sales Consultant at 800-726-4793 or

See Other General Recreation, Inc. New Playground Project Profiles HERE.

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