This blog reports events and interesting tidbits from Rensselaer, Indiana and the surrounding area.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Things I would like to see in Rensselaer (Updated)

A few days ago I spent about an hour in a park in Lebanon, Indiana. One thing that caught my eye was a small hill. I think it was a sledding hill, something that would be nice in Rensselaer. I know that various people have discussed it, and it came up a year or two ago when the park board was discussing visions of the future, but I guess it was not high enough on the wish list.
Seeing that got me to thinking about a couple other improvements I would like to see in the parks. First, a fountain that kids could play in. The Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago has a fountain that has the spigots that shoot water embedded in a sidewalk. The water shoots up randomly, and the kids love it. Kids love to play in water, and some fountains are designed to allow them to do that. Another water-related change I would like to see is a slide at the pool in Brookside Park. This summer the Morocco Pool added three short tube slides. They should be at least as safe as the diving board. If Morocco can do it, why not Rensselaer? (A month ago I watched some kids swing in the park, and it occurred to me that most kids around here will never learn a skill that was almost universal in my generation--pumping a swing while standing. All the swings I see in parks these days have flexible seats, seats the conform to the body. They are meant to be sat on, not stood one. But when I was a kid, the swings were all rigid--you could either sit on them or stand on them. We learned to pump a swing sitting, but also standing. Any of you other "wisdom figures" recall making the swing go while standing? Or are they any of you younger readers that know what I am talking about?)

Update: Here is an example of a kid-friendly fountain. It has water that is only an inch or two deep and little gushers of water that are fun for little kids to play in. This one is in Rockford, IL at the Magic Waters Water Park (which you can see from Interstate 39 right before it ends at the tollway.)
Update 2: The sledding hill idea was killed because of insurance problems. The disappearance of the old solid-bottom swings was due to a government regulation. These sorts of problems are not unique to Rensselaer.


Anonymous said...

I hope the Park Board sees these suggestions. I agree with you.

Anonymous said...

If you go to the Bloomington Farmer's Market,near by is a fountain that children can play in (more of a little winding man made stream down a small hill). What a great idea that would be for Halleck Park. Something to attract young families downtown. I know that would be up to the County, not the city, but still a good idea.

Anonymous said...

I LOVED to stand on the swings and go as high as possible.


Sledding hill would be great, too.

Gene said...

Not only do I remember pumping the swings in the playground of the old primary school in the 1940s, I remember who it was who taught me to do it.. Bonnie (DeWees) Phegley. Wonder if she remembers that.

Anonymous said...

Add a skate park in an out of the way part of town (maybe close to the future sidewalk fountain?) But a definite yes to the hard swings. I complain about it to my wife every time we go to the park.