Hopewell Recreation and Parks is excited to celebrate new improvements at Woodlawn Park, a 1.5 acre neighborhood playground that has served the community for decades. The site has been on the Recreation Department's capital project funding request for years and was listed as the top priority in fiscal year 2019. The improved park space features an all-new 6,000 square foot playground, a new picnic pavilion, state-of-the-art outdoor fitness equipment, updated landscaping, and a paved walking trail. The $236,000 improvement project was made possible with capital improvement funding and a combination of grants.
The new playground has been designated as a National Demonstration Site by PlayCore for best practices in inclusive playground design. The site incorporates the seven principles of inclusive playground design as defined by PlayCore. The main play structure is ramped for wheelchair access and includes sensory activity stations to create a unique play experience for children of all abilities. A sensory wave arch, "merry-go-all," and six-bay swing set are other notable features. The swing set isn't just your traditional belt and chain, but also includes Expression Swings that allow parents and small children to swing together face-to-face and Zero G swings that offer a fold down harness and seat with full back for safe swinging. The entire site offers paved walking trails along with designated handicap parking to improve accessibility. The cost of the playground equipment was offset by a $56,000 grant from GameTime/Cunningham Recreation. The Woodlawn Renovation Project was recognized at the Virginia Recreation and Park Society annual conference as part of the VRPS Promotes Play and Recreation Initiative.
The park also features a state of the art fitness station that can only be found in a handful of locations across the state. The Thrive 450 Fitness system combines a variety of workout stations into one piece of fitness equipment, serving up to five users at a time. The City’s comprehensive plan and HEAL (Healthy Eating Active Living) status obligate the city to include active lifestyle options in planning and policy decisions. The outdoor fitness equipment provides an accessible and affordable means for both young persons and adults to pursue active lifestyle opportunities. The cost of the fitness equipment was offset by a $20,000 grant from the Virginia Department of Health (Crater District).
Additional improvements to the site include the installation of more than 60 trees provided by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. A volunteer planting day was held in November (2018) and over 50 volunteers assisted with installing the new trees. The trees offer tremendous environmental benefits including improved air quality and stormwater filtration. Learn more about the Chesapeake Bay Foundation's Hopewell Restoration Project by clicking here.
The majority of the project demolition and construction was completed by Park Operations staff from the Recreation Department with assistance from the Department of Public Works. Playground equipment was sourced through Cunningham Recreation and was installed by Old South Building Corporation. City engineering staff coordinated and supervised paving operations and assisted with site design. By completing a majority of the site work and construction in-house, the City was able to save an estimated $55,000 of taxpayer funding.