Designing a Playground
The Town of Amherst is designing a playground for the children of Amherst, to be located in Kendrick Park. The Planning Department, LSSE and DPW staff are working together to prepare a design, with input from the public.
During the summer of 2019 the Town of Amherst applied for a PARC grant from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and was awarded $400,000. In the fall CPAC (Community Preservation Act Committee) and the Town Council voted to match this grant with about $260,000 from town funds to build a playground that will serve Downtown Amherst.
Why Kendrick Park?
Amherst already has playgrounds in other parts of town – at Mill River Recreation Area, at Wildwood and Fort River and Crocker Farm Schools, and the town will soon have a renovated playground and splash pad at Groff Park in South Amherst.
With that said, Kendrick Park is the best place for a playground to serve people who live in the center of Amherst and people who visit Downtown.
Kendrick Park is about 3.3 acres in size, about the size of the Town Common. The park is mostly open, but it has a variety of mature trees.
The playground will be located on the west side of the park, about half way between Hallock Street and Triangle Street. It is easily accessible from the commercial part of downtown and from Wildwood Elementary School and surrounding neighborhoods.
The idea for Kendrick Park was born in the early part of the last century, in 1925, when local banker George Smith Kendrick came up with the idea of creating a private park at the location called the ’’island location’’. At that time, the Town of Amherst had only one centrally-located park, Sweetser Park on Main Street, which was then private.
The existence of Kendrick Park is due to the 1930 trust established by George Kendrick and later continued by his sister Jenny.
The park originally consisted of 10 house lots, on which 11 houses once sat. After 1930, as the properties became available for sale, the houses were either demolished or relocated by the Kendrick Trust.
This was all done in secret. Mr. Kendrick did not want everyone to know what his plan was. His plan was to take down all the houses and turn the area into a park for the people of the Town of Amherst.
The Town acquired the properties around 2006. In 2007, the last house was moved to a site on Gray Street. And a community design process began.
Prior to submitting the PARC grant application the town held a public meeting in June 2019 to seek input from the public about what they wanted to see in a playground in Kendrick Park.
After receiving the PARC grant the town held another public meeting in January of 2020, again to seek public comment. The input from both meetings is being incorporated into the developing design.
The schedule for the playground’s design and construction is ambitious. The state’s PARC grant program requires that the design be complete by June 2020 and that construction be complete by June 2021.
Note: All presentations will be viewable during the public meetings and will be posted online for viewing afterward.
April 15 – Preliminary presentation to the Planning Board about the proposed design; opportunity for public input.
April 22 – Presentation to the Design Review Board for recommendations; opportunity for public input.
April 29 – Public Hearing before the Planning Board for Site Plan Review of the design of the playground; opportunity for public input.
June 1 – Design plans submitted to the state for review.
July-August 2020 – Contractor chosen via public bidding process
September 2020 – Construction begins.
June 2021 – Construction complete.
Staff from Public Works, Leisure Services and Supplemental Education (LSSE) and the Planning Department are working together to develop a design for the play area at Kendrick Park. The Team is using the public comments to help inform the design, and has also consulted with recreation equipment vendors and companies.
The concept design is based on the 2011 Schematic Design prepared for Kendrick Park as the culmination of a year-long process to envision the future of the space. More information about the 2011 plan and process can be found in the ’Additional Resources’ tab.
Plans for the 2020 process include:
Concept Design as of March 31, 2020
The Town of Amherst has held two public meetings during the planning for a Kendrick Park playground. The input from these meetings is being incorporated into the developing design.
June 27, 2019: Prior to submitting the PARC grant application the town held a public meeting on June 27, 2019 to seek input from the public about what they wanted to see in a playground in Kendrick Park.
January 9, 2020: After receiving the PARC grant the town held a second public meeting on January 9, 2020 to seek additional public comment.
View preference boards--Green dots represent preferred equipment and design elements, while red dots represent less favorable designs.