Jackson Sq. playground construction to start

April 12, 2013
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JACKSON SQ.—Construction on a long-delayed playground in Jackson Square was scheduled to begin this week.

Construction is expected to be completed by early summer and is planned for daytime, weekday work, though weekend work is possible, state Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) spokesperson Conrad Crawford told the Gazette.

The playground is a joint project between DCR, a state agency, and Boston Children’s Hospital, who raised the funds for the project. The 4,000-square-foot location for the playground is adjacent to the Bromley-Heath housing development, behind the Jackson Square MBTA station and next to the existing sports courts.

Construction on the playground was originally slated for May 2011. Construction was first delayed due to an innovative play structure, a Wall-holla. The structure will be first of its kind in the U.S., which caused delays in ensuring that all safety regulations were being followed.

The second delay was due to unexpected but required legal processes between state and non-state agencies regarding the transfer of money from Boston Children’s Hospital to DCR. The third delay was due to a lengthier safety coordination process between the project team and the MBTA.

Because the playground will stand near and over underground MBTA tracks, the MBTA had to make sure that neither safety nor transit operations would be adversely impacted by the work. The MBTA approved the playground plan last fall.

The Wall-holla, a climbing structure that resembles a giant ant farm, is a hollow, 16-foot-high wall, with multi-level passages that mimic ant tunnels. The Wall-holla will be the cornerstone of the new playground.

Aside from the Wall-holla, the playground is expected to include many other balance-based toys and structures, including a carousel and a zipline that would allow children with limited mobility as well as able-bodied children to enjoy the playground.

A zipline consists of ropes attached to a pulley on an inclined track, allowing the person holding the rope to zip from one end to the other quickly.

The playground will also include adult exercise equipment and water fountains, Crawford said.