A second-generation Schertz Playscape – reflecting the community spirit that built the original playground – is moving ever closer. The new Playscape is slated go in the large area between the Schertz Public Library and the Schertz Family YMCA. Groundbreaking is slated for late summer or early fall.
The original Playscape was built by hundreds of community volunteers over a five-day period in March 2002. It quickly became a destination place for young families and others who enjoy watching children playing and laughing. It was expected to have a longer life, but that was not the case. Unforeseen issues such as deterioration of wood parts and safety concerns forced the Playscape’s closure a number of months ago.
“The original Playscape was the Face of Schertz for many years – a city icon,” said Bond Project Manager Phil Gaudreau. “We will honor that in the new one.” Along with the City’s Parks & Recreation Department, Gaudreau is working on the new Playscape project, which was part of the bond projects approved in the November 2010 election.
Voters OK’d four propositions, including one for a new Aquatic Center (planned for the original Playscape site next to library) and the relocation and improvement of the original Playscape. The deteriorating condition of the Playscape made improving it impractical and the building of a new one necessary, Gaudreau explained.
“Part of the unique nature of the original Playscape is that it was created by the community for the community. It has an architectural style that is difficult to duplicate for a reasonable cost in modern materials to last the 25 to 50 years we want,” Gaudreau said.
The new Playscape will be designed with twice as many play event areas as the original one, according to Parks & Recreation Department Director George Logan.
“This Playscape also will be unique in Schertz because it has components that are specifically designed for children with physical and mental challenges. There are all kinds of things planned for this Playscape that have never been in Schertz before,” Gaudreau said.
As part of honoring the people and process that built the original Playscape, there are plans for a Community Involvement Day that could include landscaping and other things, Gaudreau said.
“Tiles, Artwork, stakeholders and sponsors will be memorialized in a permanent laminate exhibited on a stone monument sign at the Playscape,” Logan said.
Components of the original Playscape will be incorporated into the new facility, Logan said.
The original Playscape was built from March 13-17 by hundreds of volunteers, many of whom worked 18-hour days. The design of the popular park was based on interviews with hundreds of local school children who submitted more than 3,000 drawings of what they wanted in the Playscape.