by Rachel Porter
The removal of the existing equipment at Karnes playground represents the first step in constructing a new natural playground on this site. This begins to bring to life the type of playground the community identified in last year’s meetings.
Phase 1 of the park (beginning this spring) includes a 12-foot high, circular land-form with hill slides. This hill is located east of a new pathway connecting the existing walks along Karnes and Madison. New swings for toddlers will be located north of the hill and new swings for children are located to the south. An area for seating is also planned in this first phase.
Currently being designed, Phase 2 of the park is scheduled to be completed by the end of this fall and includes a toddler play area with musical instruments, a smaller 4-6 feet high hill with slides, and additional play equipment still being selected. For the older children, a taller net climbing structure and a zip line are planned. Budget permitting, a water feature and additional elements would be provided that educate people about the natural features in the park like the springs, caves, and rock outcroppings. In this sense Karnes playground will serve as a “Field Guide” for greater Roanoke park.