Monday, August 15, 2011

Hartman Park: A Review

Posted By on Mon, Aug 15, 2011 at 6:36 AM

Location: In Bordeaux, right by the police academy
Size of Park: Large for a neighborhood park
Crowds: Light
Approximate Age of Patrons: Mostly adults
Topics of Conversation: "Yep, that's turning pink."
Stray Dogs Seen: None
Types of Vehicles in Parking Lots: Family vehicles
Perceived Safety: High
Number of Gunshots Heard: None
Dog Friendliness: Fine
Number of pitbulls sighted: None
Accessibility: Fine
Incorporation of Local History: Could be better
Recommended Patrons: Families, people who like black-eyed Susans

See what I mean about faded to pink? Im guessing from the firetruck motif, this was originally bright red.
  • See what I mean about faded to pink? I'm guessing from the firetruck motif, this was originally bright red.
I drove through this park to review the Whites Creek Greenway, so I almost said, "Eh, good enough." I'm glad I didn't. This is a great park.

First, there's a lot of parking. Generous amounts of parking. The path through the park is well-maintained. The baseball diamond is in great shape and the dugouts and spectators have new benches. The tennis courts are in some of the best condition of tennis courts I've seen in our parks. The community center is huge and welcoming. The playground equipment (with one minor quibble) is in excellent shape and looks very inviting.

And Whites Creek is lined in gold from all of the black-eyed Susans in bloom. Plus the creek was barely moving under the bridge, just enough to give it a little sparkle.

I'm not sure it could have been more beautiful. There's lots of room for structured play and lots of room for just running around in the grass, which was green and well-maintained.

I wouldn't say that Hartman Park is a well-kept secret of a park, since there were people there exercising and families there riding bikes and playing on the playground equipment, but I definitely felt like I was in an under-appreciated park. I sometimes make a distinction between neighborhood parks, which are intended solely for the people in the neighborhood, and citywide parks, which are intended for everyone in the city. I almost want to make a third distinction for Hartman Park in that it really feels like a community park — since you can easily park if you drive there, but you can walk if you live nearby. And if you had to come to the park from your neighborhood for some reason, you'd find it welcoming and easy to navigate.

It's obvious Hartman is either a new park or has been newly made-over. Even the bridges over the creek that drains into Whites Creek are still yellowish, not yet faded completely to gray. But the red of the playground equipment has faded to a bland dull pink. I've seen this before at parks. The red just doesn't hold up to the sun. But the woman I talked to at the park said that equipment has only been there a few years, less than five. And I know my impression was that it wasn't sturdy.

Now, obviously, it is. It's basically new equipment and I looked it all over and it's in fine shape. But the link between "faded" and "rickety and neglected" is pretty strong in my head. I imagine that must be the same for others and I hope the fading color isn't making parents nervous about letting their kids onto the equipment. At the very least, I hope Mayor Dean orders one of those $60,000-a-year part-timers to make the playground equipment manufacturer a little nervous about how unhappy we are that the red portions of our new equipment look like shit. You'd think they'd have tested the colorfastness of that red before selling it to people, you know?

We must have a Parks enforcer working for the city, right?

Anyway, this is a great park. Check it out, if you get a chance.

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