A natural playscape is planned for Barrett Park, located at the southeast corner of 156th Street and Waterford Road in Urbandale. A natural playscape is a play environment that consists of elements and textures from the earth such as logs, stumps, boulders, sand, plants, water play, etc.
Barrett Park features approximately 4 acres of open space, as well as a creek lined with mature trees. This presents outstanding opportunities for natural play and lends itself to a design that brings a sense of place, recreation, inclusiveness, and outdoor education. This unique park will be a regional destination for nature-based programming and environmental stewardship and bring all ages of people together to engage in physical activity.
Upon completion, the park will include play pods with a variety of activities, as well a rain garden, access to the creek, prairie grasses, soft and paved trails, a bridge over the creek, trees and other landscaping, a parking lot, accessible restroom and open shelter, public art, and educational signage.
Since by nature, a natural play space does not dictate how children should play, young people are encouraged to collaborate and communicate with their peers. Through play in an open-ended setting, children improve their sharing, negotiation, problem-solving, empathy, and leadership skills as they work together. This park will also encourage users to engage their imagination and creativity in order to foster innovation, independence, and a direct connection to nature.
Phase 1 of this project is expected to be completed by the end of 2021.