The board of the Columbus Square Park Advisory Council, along with a task force and representatives from the city Parks and Rec Department, have met twice with designers to go over possibilities of what the park may become and further refine the plans. As we told you in March, the park’s council was awarded a grant to for design services by the Community Design Collaborative.
It’s still a long way off from finalizing a design, but one thing’s certain. The redesigned park, bounded by 12th, 13th, Reed and Wharton streets, will include a playing field. The field will likely be somewhat smaller than the current field to allow for more discretionary space for community use, but that’s currently being negotiated.
But there’s already much to agree on, said Ilene Wilder, who’s in charge of the advisory council. Here’s what the majority of the community said they would like to see at Columbus Square Park, which is often mistakenly called Passyunk Square, and will likely happen:
- An expansion of the big-dog park and addition of a slightly larger small-dog park. The surface will be updated, ideally with the anti-microbial, synthetic “K-9 grass” like they have in Schuylkill River Park near 25th and Locust.
- The perimeter greening will remain.
- Remodeling the patio area along 13th Street and adding seating around park
- A refurbished, one-piece playground surface in the tot lot to replace the tiles, which are coming loose and creating a safety issue for the kids.
- Shade veils for the playground are being considered, along with a remodeled water feature that includes a timer (Now, it runs all day, and only when someone from the city turns it on from the inside of the rec center)
- The Roundhouse, the crumbling circular building next to the dog park, is being studied. Whether it becomes a concession stand, an art center or gets torn down depends on cost (there are other possibilities as well)
Wilder estimated that the design talks were 85 percent complete and that the Community Design Collaborative hopes to have it settled by October.
The design proposals took into consideration the input from about 100 emails from members of the community who all weighed in about what they wanted to see in these improvements. We know that when we posited that the park should become a Rittenhouse Square south, several readers came out of the woodwork in the comments to say in the comments that the playing field must absolutely stay.
After the design is finalized, the next step would be to raise the money. Wilder said it was too early to know what the budget will be but that there is interest in investing in the project from various sources. Fundraising would take about a year, which means the timeline for this project could be about three years.
So, how’s this sound? Is it what you want?