Cottage Grove “little kid” playground proposals: Your turn!

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A new feature is in the works for Cottage Grove Park in Delridge — a playground where the littlest of children can safely play. Organizers now have three options, and they’re hoping you will help them choose – just one of the ways you can help – read on to see the options and find out more:

First, Betsy Hoffmeister, who’s volunteering on the playground project, tells the story:

The history of Greg Davis Park, Cottage Grove Park, and the Longfellow Creek Legacy Trail goes way back before my time.

I just moved to Delridge from the Morgan Junction three years ago, so we were lucky to find all these parks going in as soon as we got here. Just two years ago, the Northeast corner of Brandon and 26th was an overgrown lot filled with junked cars, old tires, broken bottles, and scrubby trees, including some ancient apple trees. One thing I’ve learned is that Cottage Grove used to be filled with orchards. There are a few remnant trees left.

Although the lot was a habitat for many songbirds, it was not much of a space for the community. Last year the lot was razed to the ground and transformed into a rolling field, gentle pathways, a contemplation garden, and an exciting playground for children ages 5 and up. The park is beautifully landscaped with many edible, native plants including blueberries, salal, and Oregon grape. We keep waiting for bats to take up resident in the bat house waiting for them.

My children and I started biking and walking to the park whenever we had free time. My son, Isaac, who is seven, challenged me to climb all over the equipment with him. My climbing skills pale in comparison with his. My three year old daughter, Rebecca, is swiftly bored. There is little for her to do. She can sort of swing in some low swingy-seat things, but she can’t reach the equipment and what she can reach, she can’t safely climb on. She can’t run around in the grass because careless neighbors let their dogs – all of which seem to be the size of horses, judging by the piles they leave behind – run free. So she gets bored and we have to leave the neighborhood and drive to another playground where both of them can play.

Being an action-oriented kind of gal, and a member of the North Delridge Neighborhood Council, I naively thought to myself, “Geez, let’s build a playground for the little kids!” So, I started the process. Now we have a group of wonderful neighbors working together to design a playground, work with the appropriate city bureaucrats, and raise money. We would like feedback from our neighbors. We have three proposed designs. Without going into too much detail, here are three pictures of three different playground ideas and the flat fee from the designers. Please write in and let us know your favorite design and why. We are still working on figuring out how to collect donations – we have a fiscal sponsor and we are working out the final details on that! Thanks for your feedback.

You can click each image to open a larger version. First, this one is from Cascade Recreation, a $15,522 bid:


Next, from Sitelines, a $13,871 bid:


And from Architecreation, a $16,021 bid:


Betsy adds: “We’ve already raised $182.81 at the West Seattle Garage Sale – Wahoo! Keep those donations flooding in!” You can e-mail her and playground organizers at:

11 Replies to "Cottage Grove "little kid" playground proposals: Your turn!"

  • Sarah May 25, 2008 (9:00 pm)

    Hi Betsy
    Sarah here: I would love to show you and the committee what we just installed at CSWS for less than $3,000. It will serve many more children than these structures would provide for and allow a connection with the beauty and nature of the surrounds! And the real play oppertunities these materials provide are limitless-they nurture imagination, creativity and the oppertunity to really interact with what is around you. Natural playgrounds, made out of ‘things found in nature’ are the way to go and I would be more than happy to share our resources (time and ideas) with you and your group. Stop by for a visit and I’ll show you what I mean!

  • andy May 26, 2008 (8:47 am)


    I live right between this park and the Delridge community center, neither being ideal play areas for young children. I was real excited when Cottage Grove opened but my wife and I were pretty bummed that our 3 year old can’t really use any of the structures there.

    I vote for option 1. Thanks for the work and I hope to hear of updates and how others in the community can help!

  • alissa May 26, 2008 (8:53 am)

    i am in favor of option one. i live right by the playground too and even my 7 year old is bored there. the swings would be great!

  • ams May 27, 2008 (7:02 am)

    I would have to vote for number 2. The item on the far right is a musical instrument cluster, a cool way for toddlers to express themselves and use imagination, a very important aspect of play at this age, that is lacking in the other 2 plans. The movement based activities, coupled with the musical element make a great space. This would also allow budget to add some nature plantings around the perimeter as it is the least expensive option, too!

  • ams May 27, 2008 (7:03 am)

    correction, it appears the mmusical elements are on the far left, not right!!

  • Kelly May 27, 2008 (2:45 pm)

    I love Option #1. It looks great for these climbing toddlers and it looks like it gives the most bang for the buck. Thank you for working on this project. I (and my toddler) appreciate it!

  • khamilton May 27, 2008 (8:04 pm)

    I vote for Option #1 as it appears that the climbing stairs and small slide are low to the ground. That would be a huge plus for 1-4 year olds who are working on climbing skills and also their independence! Thank you for working on this project.

  • ptr May 27, 2008 (11:38 pm)

    If you can base the value of a playground upon the number of children who play on it then the current playground at Cottage Grove is basically worthless. I live a few houses down from the current playground and rarely see any children on or around the site- if they are there it’s usually because it’s their first visit. I think option one is definitely the best of the lot, although it’s crazy to think such a basic set up would cost so much. Regardless, thanks for spearheading this project Betsy. You read our minds.

  • k2 May 28, 2008 (8:47 am)

    I live a block from this park, my daughter is too young at present to use this, but whatever happened to wood as a material for playgrounds?

  • Betsy May 31, 2008 (10:28 pm)

    Wow, it didn’t occur to me to look back here for comments. Duh. Thanks for all your feedback and I would love to welcome all of you to participate more. Sarah, you are so fortunate that you are a private organization — you have control over decisions. I can’t wait to see what you all have put in at the school, Rebecca will be there to play on it in the fall. The Parks Department has very strict safety oversight over the materials and contsruction and we are limited to what certain companies offer us.

    We love the musical toys too. The beauty of the musical toy options (and there are lots of choices) is that they are not terribly expensive and don’t require a huge concrete footer and a huge playchip surround. If you, ams, would be interested in sponsoring musical toys as an element, please let me know and I can tell you the range of prices and brainstorm with you about raising the funds for it.

    Playgrounds are just insanely expensive. There’s so much more that goes into it. I am getting my eyes opened more and more whenever I work on this project which is turning into a lot more than I bargained for. Each screw and bolt has to be just-so. Safety & liability.

    The problem with wood is that it needs to be maintained. Visit any of the wood playgrounds after a while and you see that they deteriorate. The nice thing about these projects here is they are all made of 100% post consumer waste plastic and metal. The project #1 is PVC free too so if it is vandalized by fire it won’t release dioxin. Small concern but still, it’s nice to know.

    What limits us taking our kids to the park is that our 3 year old can’t play there. I gauruntee you once there’s a swingset it will be full of kids all day long.

    Also we need someone to sponsor a park bench!!
    Contact me directly betsy(at)hoffmeisters(dot)com to find out how you can help!

  • Betsy June 24, 2008 (4:17 pm)

    We are in the process of writing a grant proposal to the Department of Neighborhoods for funding for the tot lot project at Cottage Grove. Under the guidelines, everyone who would like to help bring the project to fruition is required to commit to a specific number of volunteer hours. We can only start counting the donated time AFTER JULY 9 when our application is submitted. For example, even though I estimate I’ve already put at least 100 hours into the project – probably more – I can’t claim those hours. (expletive deleted). Each volunteer hour is worth $15! If you can give one hour by asking around at your work if your office has a donations program, three hours spreading woodchips at the building site, one hour designing letterhead, five hours delivering request letters to area businesses – write to me as soon as you possibly can to tell me. Be generous – these are theoretical hours that we keep track of in a very generous way, as far as I understand the process. I will need each of you to sign a physical piece of paper indicating your hours. If this doesn’t make sense, ask more questions.

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