Let’s Play at Chastain Park

 In Blog

Often times we get caught up talking about traffic roundabouts, curb cuts and how best to improve the commute in Buckhead, but as a result, we don’t always take time to stop and smell the roses. This post is about the importance of greenspace and playing.

Do you remember how you felt sliding down a slide, climbing around a treehouse and swinging as high as you could on your favorite swing?  Those were carefree days, where perhaps your imagination ran wild; and therein lies the importance of taking breaks and even playing outside.

Did you know that Chastain Park Playground was crumbling until the Chastain Park Conservancy, with the guidance of Jay Smith and Cynthia Gentry of Play Atlanta, stepped in to resurrect it? Chastain Park Playground occupies 40,000 square feet and is spread out over six of the 268 acres of Chastain Park.  The playground recently received a $2.8 million renovation, thanks in large part to corporate donors and the City of Atlanta, and this playground, which is the only regional park in north Fulton County, serves approximately 80,000 kids who live within five miles of it.

Play Atlanta worked to re-design the park through the eyes and imaginations of the children who would use it. The company held “play days” asking for input through ideas and drawings, which were all presented to the Chastain Park Conservancy board. The side-by-side slides “built for racing” came from a boy who wanted to race his friends to the bottom. The large green swings were designed for kids of all ages to swing and simply hang out in nature.

Other unique features include a wheelchair-accessible tree house called Summer’s Tree House, which is the playground’s centerpiece.  Named after Cynthia Gentry’s stepdaughter who lost her battle with cancer at 16, Summer’s Tree House is surrounded by freshly planted trees, and will one day be part of the tree canopy providing all children and adults a place to relax and be close with nature.

The renovated playground also includes climbing walls and boulders, an outdoor piano and music station, a covered pavilion, restrooms and more. Click here to see some great photos!

Traditional playgrounds tend to clear-cut the play area and remove an important aspect of playgrounds – nature. Play Atlanta took a different approach and integrated the playground into the existing topography and natural surroundings, making the environment an extra toy to be enjoyed. Chastain Park Playground is greenspace that is alive, caters to kids of all ages and creates a real sense of community.  We’re proud to have this within close proximity to our Buckhead Community Improvement District.

Buckhead CID is responsible for many aspects of the district, including greenspace like Charlie Loudermilk Park. Greenspaces not only provide great environmental benefits as they clean the air, provide shade and absorb stormwater runoff, but they also have an enormous and positive impact on people. Greenspace has been associated with general overall good health, reduced stress and depression levels, increased physical activity, lower healthcare costs, and the ability to create a sense of community and connectivity.  In fact, the World Health Organization found the health savings from parks was an estimated $3.08 billion in the U.S., after evaluating the largest 85 cities in the country with a combined population of 57.2 million.

I challenge you to get out and play, enjoy nature, swing as high as you can, race down the slides, climb around a tree house, play an outside piano and soak up that carefree feeling children enjoy, if only for a moment. The park is inviting to kids of all ages, including those who are young at heart.

The park opened to the public with a ceremony on March 19, 2016.  Click here for more information, and let us know what you think!

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