Ribbon cutting at Westlake today at 11:30 for new play area

In a little while, I’ll be heading down to the Westlake Center to join Mayor McGinn and Kate Joncas of the Downtown Seattle Association as well as Christopher Williams from Seattle Parks and James Hendricks, President of the Seattle Children’s Research Institute  to cut the ribbon on the all-new, first ever downtown public play space: The Seattle Children’s Westlake Play Area.

Westlake-Park-play-space-start-of-construction

 Come join us if you can! There will be a performance by the Spruce Street School Marimba Band, face painting, hot chocolate and treats.

 I’m very excited about this project, which I’ve written about before. The play area, which will have a climbing space and benches around the edges for moms and dads, will be a terrific addition to a park that is right at the heart of our downtown shopping area.

The year-round play area will include a soft, rubber-like surfacing and a Geode by Goric.  This large, netted spherical structure and a collection of large domes will be surrounded by a fence with bench seating in some areas.  The design and elements involved were selected specifically with sightlines and function in mind, as the structures do not obstruct views to the retail spaces and through the park. Geode is designed to be used by children up to 12 years old.

Not only for downtown’s 3000 child residents, and growing by the way, but for visitors from other neighborhoods and outside of Seattle, the play area will bring light and fun and the sound of kids playing to a part of town that some feel needs more positive activation.

Downtown business owners and the Children’s Institute donated $150,000 into the project, hoping it will bring in businesses and help to create and foster a sense of community.

Another perk is this playground will add health benefits. A recent study led by Seattle Children’s Research Institute found that children living in neighborhoods with quality parks and other neighborhood environment attributes have 59 percent lower odds of being obese.

The play space will be at the east edge of the park, a cross from the Metropolitan Building. It will have a fence around it, but all are welcome to enjoy. I know I will!

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