There are a total of 16 playgrounds in Jamaica Plain managed by either Massachusetts' Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) or the Boston Parks and Recreation Department. So how accessible are all of them?
The 16 playgrounds have varied features including age-based play structures, splash pads, spray decks, athletic fields, swings, a sandbox, and more.
Currently, DCR is assessing opportunities to make improvements at their agency-managed playgrounds across the Commonwealth. In Jamaica Plain, DCR manages nine sites that include playgrounds, spray decks, benches, gardens, and sport courts. All DCR sites have American Disability Act accessibility features such as transfer stations and accessible surfacing.
Jamaica Plain News spoke with two DCR consultants while they were evaluating playgrounds along the Southwest Corridor, and said that the wood chips at several playgrounds should be replaced with a flat surface to make the sites easier to navigate. The consultants specifically mentioned the Everett Street Playground's wood chips would make it difficult to access the play structures.
These are the nine DCR-run playgrounds/spray decks/fitness areas in Jamaica Plain:
- Amory Playground (Amory Street)
- Anson Spalding Street Playground (Spalding Street)
- Boynton Hall Street Playground (Hall Street)
- Corporal Joseph E. Johnson Playground and Spray Deck (Green Street)
- Everett Street Playground (Everett Street)
- Lorber Family Playground (Jackson Square)
- Mission Hill Deck Playground (Tremont Street)
- New Minton Street Playground (New Minton Street)
- Stony Brook Playground and Spray Deck (Lamartine Street)
DCR’s Design and Engineering Department is using the assessment to decide facility work. Annually, DCR spends around $2.45 million a year on maintenance and renovation of playgrounds, courts, and spray decks across the state.
There are seven playground facilities managed by Boston's Parks and Recreation Department, and all met ADA requirements at the time of construction, and many across the city exceed current ADA standards.
Parks and Recreation have their own customized "accessibility standards'' that were created to fill gaps in ADA guidance or where more progressive standards are desired. While DCR consultants said wood chips made accessibility difficult, the Parks and Recreation said wood chips are considered accessible if well-maintained.
In total there are 138 playgrounds citywide, and 129 have been assessed as accessible according to city standards. A city officials told Jamaica Plain News that the Flaherty Playground on Cornwall Street will soon begin a community process for renovations to that playground.
The following are the Jamaica Plain playgrounds (using Parks and Recreation neighborhood boundaries) managed by Parks and Recreation:
- Jefferson Playground
- Mozart Street Playground
- Brewer-Boroughs Tot Lot
- Parkman Playground
- Flaherty Playground
- Forbes Street Playground
- Murphy Playground
- Rossmore/Stedman Park