Pops of bright greens and blues can be spotted from the center of Old Town Greenwood as the reimagined Old City Park opened its gates last week.
After a two-year-long renovation project, Old City Park officially reopened Friday with a brief celebration hosted by the city.
The $5 million renovation modernized the run-down Old City Park. Now, brightly colored and inviting, the playground is the centerpiece, featuring a 23-foot-tall cube tower for climbing in the center. The tower, designed by Texas-based KOMPAN, is the first of its kind in Indiana, and one of three in the country.
Surrounding the tower is a playscape — with a climbing net and wall, foosball tables and cornhole — designed to encourage co‐play between children and parents. The play equipment are distanced to allow space for safe and socially distanced play.
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And with the unique leveling of the play turf, the playscape allows visitors to experience the park from several different levels. Sections of the playscape are concrete or grass, with areas separated by slopes, hills or steps. Custom-designed urban porch swings were incorporated into the design as well, positioned to observe the playscape and overlook Pleasant Creek.
This park was reimagined to fit how children play outside today, said Rob Taggart, director of the Greenwood Parks and Recreation Department.
"The park design allows the user to choose their activity … where a child follows their own play urges, and not being confined," Taggart said. "Play helps develop social skills, like working together through the cargo nets, or telling someone to stop spinning or they’re going to barf … play can relieve stress by discovering native species from a meadow walk, gaining confidence by making it to the top of the cube tower."
The park is also ecologically designed with native and exotic plants surrounding the area. Taggart touted the new greenery surrounding the park, which has 180 trees, more than 675 shrubs, 2,750 perennials, 930 ornamental grasses, two acres of native prairie and nearly three acres of open lawn, he said.
"To quote Abraham Lincoln, ‘The best way to predict the future is to create it’" Taggart said. "Based off this, and previous projects we’ve done, Greenwood certainly has a bright future."
The reimagined Old City Park is just one part of the redesign of Old Town Greenwood, and it is intended to be a centerpiece of the city, eventually becoming part of the $9 million transformation of the former middle school site.
Multi-use trails were also integrated into the park to make walking connections to main areas of the city, including the amphitheater, Madison Avenue and the soon-to-be fieldhouse, Mayor Mark Myers said. This is a taste of what Greenwood’s future will look like, he said.
"Since I grew up here in Greenwood, when I was a kid 50 years ago, this was a sledding hill, there was nothing else here. The park was bare, but it was a good park back in the day," Myers said. "To see the transformation we’ve done today … the joy and excitement that I feel each time I enter this park."
Mike Campbell, a Greenwood City Council member, said Old City Park is central to the city’s development.
"I want to make it a great place for my grandchildren who are all living in this area and growing up in this area," Campbell said.