Mercerdale Playground Renovation Project

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Mercerdale Park is getting new playground equipment this year, along with new drainage and accessible play features!

Playground Characteristics

During the virtual public meeting, community participants voiced interest in keeping the train theme while also including other play options. Accessibility and inclusion were strong themes at both public meetings. The community expressed interest in making the area a community gathering place for people of all ages and abilities. The project is being designed to achieve both.

The total site area is 5,000 square feet. This project is not currently planned to expand the playground footprint. However, the curbing in

Mercerdale Park is getting new playground equipment this year, along with new drainage and accessible play features!

Playground Characteristics

During the virtual public meeting, community participants voiced interest in keeping the train theme while also including other play options. Accessibility and inclusion were strong themes at both public meetings. The community expressed interest in making the area a community gathering place for people of all ages and abilities. The project is being designed to achieve both.

The total site area is 5,000 square feet. This project is not currently planned to expand the playground footprint. However, the curbing in the center of the site will be removed to increase the layout options. The level of the playground will be raised to the surrounding grade. New surfacing will provide fall protection while being firm and stable for wheeled assistive devices.

What we have heard:

Design the playground to be:

  • Accessible to a range of users
  • Inclusive of different play styles
  • Provide several levels of challenge
  • Fun and Inviting
  • Keep the Train Theme

Do it in a way that is:

  • Expedient: get it done this summer
  • Cost-effective: provide value to Mercer Island taxpayers
  • Environmentally-friendly: uses non-toxic materials, preserves open space, uses sustainable methods


Why is the City Replacing the Playground Equipment?

The existing playground is 19 years old, and the equipment is at the end of its useful life. The groundcover chips have also broken down and are clogging the drainage system. The level of the play surface will be raised to meet the top of the existing concrete edging to improve accessibility, but the edging, seating and landscaping will remain in place.

  • City Council Approves Playground Project

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    At its May 18 meeting, the City Council approved the Mercerdale Park Playground Renovation project. The City Council amended the budget and formally accepted the generous donation of $20,000 from the Mercer Island Preschool Association (MIPA) for the improvements. The City again appreciates the assistance of the Parks and Recreation Commission in evaluating multiple design alternatives. To view the meeting presentation, click here.

    City crews have begun site prep work by decommissioning most of the existing structures and removing them from the Park, except for the swings. After finalizing the design and ordering equipment, staff anticipate the new playground reopening in late summer 2021; the well-known train-themed play structure will be replaced sometime this fall.

  • Playground Designs are Certified as Inclusive

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    Let Kids Play! has determined that both playground options currently being considered for Mercerdale Park are Certified Inclusive according to its May 3 report. The report states, "Both of the designs do an excellent job of providing various physical, social and sensory experiences." Both designs offer seven out of eight types of physical play. Both designs engage the five sensory systems the analysis considers.

    The report states, "Option 1 puts its challenge into climbing. That design's structure goes up to 96" with challenging climbers at the end of that structure.... On the other hand, Option 2 puts it challenge into spinning. The Double Cone Spinner is a wonderful piece."

    A core tenet of inclusion is that the "Coolest Thing" at the playground is accessible to all. The train, a custom creation for Mercerdale, is identified as "the Coolest Thing." It states, " Every child can have a meaningful play experience, whether wheeling in to drive the train or climbing up to the top. The train offers physical, sensory and social experiences."

    The Mercer Island Parks and Recreation Commission will be discussing both options at its meeting on May 6.

  • Playground Equipment to be Removed Early May

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    Apr 27, 2021 - Project Update: The City's Certified Playground Safety Inspectors have recently reinspected the equipment and confirmed that most of it no longer meets standards and needs to be removed. In early May, City crews will begin site prep work by decommissioning most of the structures and removing them from the Park, except for the swings. After finalizing the design and ordering equipment, staff anticipate the new playground reopening in late summer. The well-known train-themed play structure will be replaced and updated, but since it is a custom piece, it will likely not be installed until sometime this fall.

  • April 14 Meeting Recap

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    At the April 14 meeting, attendees expressed their preferences on a number of design choices using the Zoom meeting polling feature. Color, surfacing, structure height, climbing and spinning options were among the topics covered. This was followed by an open question and answer session with attendees. Polling results,xternal link, the the slideshow presentation, and Q&A notes are available on this page in the Documents Library. Archived meeting video is available on our YouTube Channel

    The next step will be on May 6 when the Parks and Recreation Commission will review design choices that result from the input received April 14 and on this Let's Talk page. Written information will be available a week before the meeting on the City's meetings(External link) page.