Letter to the Editor: Playground equipment appeals to tots, but not others
Lester Park has been one of Duluth’s signature parks for well over 100 years. In recent years the old playground had fallen into disrepair, so it was with eager anticipation that hordes of children descended on the new one that opened last month.
Unfortunately the new equipment has not lived up to expectations.
This park has a high volume of visitors from the entire city, and we all hoped the new playground would meet the needs of a wide age range.
It is far too small for a park that is this busy. Ten to 12 small kids will max it out. When considering the enormous resources that went into this, certainly in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, one would hope that kids throughout the entire age range of the elementary years would find it entertaining.
Sadly, this is not the case. Go down there any day of the week, and you’ll find that it has primarily become a toddler-through-kindergartner type of playground. The older kids, first grade and up, are bored by the play equipment within five minutes and are off running around elsewhere. I love seeing the kids playing in natural greenspace, but is it too much to ask for even a few swings?
Duluth has plenty of toddler parks, but the younger kids would be nearly as happy with a few cardboard boxes and sticks. The older kids, with their higher energy levels, need more engaging playgrounds. This newer one is very attractive to the eye, but two small slides, a jiggling walking path to connect them, and a faux climbing rock really isn’t enough when considering the expense, location, and the need for this to last 20-30 years. More thought, and perhaps focus groups, should be put into these decisions.