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The Playground at South Gunners Branch Local Park is Getting a Makeover

Montgomery County Parks is in the process of updating the playground at South Gunners Brach Local Park in Germantown, the project should be completed later this spring.

Construction began in November will replace the playground area of the park at an approximate cost of $300,000. South Gunners Branch Local Park is located in the neighborhood behind the Clopper Mill Shopping Center at 12919 Praire Knoll Court in Germantown.

“The project involves complete replacement of the existing play equipment, renovation/reinforcement of site retaining walls, Americans with Disabilities Act – related improvements to the parking lot and ramp into the playground and improved storm drainage,” according to Aaron Feldman, the landscape architect and project manager for Montgomery Parks.

This project will occur in two phases: improvements to the playground will happen first, followed by accessibility improvements to bring the park in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. The first phase will remove the 4,000 square foot playground and replace it with a completely new playground. The concept of the new playground is to utilize net structures to maximize visibility to and through the playground without diminishing play value. The new playground will include equipment to meet the needs of children from ages 2 to 12 and will incorporate universally accessible equipment to include children of all abilities.

The new playground equipment will included a large climbing structure with a slide, along with a smaller netted climbing structure, along with a set of swings. Also included in the plan, according to Feldman are a seesaw, a balance beam, and two seat-spinners.

A small raingarden will also be constructed to treat runoff from the playground. “The raingarden will collect and filter storm runoff from the playground and adjacent paths,” said Feldman. “It slows the flow of rainwater and removes sediment before it goes into the municipal storm system.”

The second phase will reinforce the retaining walls that separate the playground from the parking lot. The path that wraps around the retaining wall will be reconstructed and handrails will be added to provide an ADA-compliant ramp to the playground. The accessible parking spaces will be shifted to the opposite side of the parking lot and a new connection will be built to connect to the parking spaces to the ramp.

Feldman said the project is limited to just the playground, ramp and a portion of the parking lot. The field and tennis courts will not be part of the improvement plan. The fields and tennis courts are still accessible during construction, said Feldman.

Photo courtesy Montgomery County Parks.

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