The Blackwell’s Pond playground.
Photo by Jessica Garcia.
As the weather gets warmer, families and especially children are looking for fun outdoor activities close to home. Carson City has more than 8,000-acres of protected parklands that offer abundant outdoor recreation opportunities for all ages and abilities.
With 17 playgrounds located throughout the capital city, there are a variety of play spaces that will encourage your child to be active and engaged in outdoor play. An assortment of swings, slides and climbing structures offer plenty of opportunities to peak your child’s imagination, encouraging physical activity, promoting health and wellness at an early age, while reducing their screen time.
In the last few years, Carson City’s Parks, Recreation and Open Space Department implemented a playground reinvestment program, with the goal of reimagining the community’s playgrounds, creating interest, and accessibility, while improving safety for park users. Though the program is in its infancy, the city is committed to upgrading playgrounds that still have useful life and replacing older playgrounds with easier access for strollers and wheelchairs. Ross Gold, John Mankins and Schultz Ranch Parks are all recent examples. Blackwell’s Pond Park playground is currently in design and will get a new playground and improved picnic area in the next year.
The department has a dedicated and remarkable team of maintenance staff, including two certified playground safety inspectors (CPSI) who provide routine inspections and maintenance to all playgrounds. During inspections, staff look for cracks in the equipment, missing or broken parts, loose nuts or bolts, gaps, warping, wear patterns, among other potential concerns. Lastly, they also investigate many items such as pinch points, fall zones, and exit areas with specialized tools to make sure all equipment meets safety standards.
Often, most issues are taken care of during these routine inspections, but playgrounds do experience normal wear and tear, and are also impacted by weather. Unfortunately, they are often subject to vandalism, graffiti, and misuse. For the most part, repairs can be resolved quickly, like replacing a swing, removing trash or graffiti. Other larger damage, like a crack in a slide, a broken piece due to vandalism, or issues with safety surfacing might require replacement parts, which could take several months (especially due to recent supply chain issues) and require the playground to be closed for safety reasons.
When visiting a playground, it is important to make sure your child is the appropriate age for the equipment. Typically, playground equipment is designated for toddlers ages 3-5 or youth ages 6-12. The equipment is designed specifically for their interests, physical size, and capability for their personal enjoyment, and always with safety in mind. Playgrounds have signs in the play area, or stickers directly on the equipment, to help guide you in making sure your child is playing on equipment designed specifically for them. The new playgrounds at Ross Gold and Schultz Ranch, are universally accessible playgrounds, designed for all ages and abilities. Ramps, rubberized surfacing, and individual exercise components at these parks provide opportunities for children, teens and adults, including those with mobility challenges, to use and enjoy these facilities. All new playgrounds in the city will have increased accessibility and unique amenities encouraging more diverse participation to help meet the community’s needs.
If you observe any damage, broken or missing parts, graffiti, or potential safety concerns within the City’s Park system, report it immediately. You can contact Carson City Parks, Recreation and Open Space Mondays through Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m., at 775-887-2262; after hours, call Carson City Sheriff’s non-emergency dispatch at 775-887–2677, or via email at email@example.com. You can also report non-emergency issues through Carson City Connect 24 hours/7 days per week from the convenience of your phone or computer at https://www.carson.org/services/carson-city-connect. Through Carson City Connect, you have the option to include photos, map locations, and other appropriate information to ensure your concern is addressed in a timely manner.
Carson City welcomes your feedback and suggestions on how we can best continue to reimagine the community’s play spaces and the parks and recreation needs in your neighborhood. For information on Carson City’s playgrounds, parks, recreation programs, open space or facilities, or to view the summer activity guide, visit carson.org/parksandrec.
David A. Navarro Jr., parks operations superintendent, and Jennifer Budge, Parks and Recreation director, are employed with Carson City in the Parks, Recreation and Open Space Department.