Events & Activities

Unique New Playground Taking Shape at Carnes Crossroads

There’s a barn-raising underway at Carnes Crossroads…and it’s sure to bring some foot-stompin’ fun when it’s done! A new farm-themed playground is in the works, courtesy of Wakefield Recreation, Inc. Owner/Designer Susan Wakefield took a few moments while on-site recently to give us the lowdown on what kids and parents can expect.

“What we try to do is get cognitive skills, social skills, fine motor and gross motor skills all mixed into our playgrounds,” explained Wakefield, who is also a national playground safety inspector. “This piece is very unique. None of our playgrounds are ever the same…We’re excited and I think the people in the neighborhood are excited!”

The design for the playground is reminiscent of the historic Green Barn that now serves as an amenity center for the community and an iconic local landmark. Made from Cypress wood, the play structure will feature roofing, siding and a trellis system that is similar to the architecture of the Green Barn. Additionally, Wakefield’s team is using recycled materials from the original Green Barn to enhance the playground. Wood from the barn is being incorporated into the bracing for the play structure, as well as to craft a family-friendly checkerboard with seats. Old gates also add an authentic, rustic flair to the site.

“This barn, the original barn, was a hay barn that had a trellis that ran across the top and brought the hay,” says Wakefield. “We’re taking some of that old tracking and running it on the top. We’re also taking the gate system and putting it behind the bench in the passive play area. It looks like you have a trellis set up behind you, but it’s made of these 176-year old gates!”

Other features include a hay loft, swings, a water trough with an old-fashioned pump, an arched bridge and pony spring riders to recreate a horseback riding experience for younger children.

“I’m going to have four pony spring riders coming into the barn openings like you see on the original barn — a mustang and a palomino on each side,” said Wakefield. “This is for the two to five year olds. The swings are for the two to twelve year olds, and the checkerboard table might even bring Mom, Dad or Grandma in there! I think it’s gonna be a great playground when it’s done!”

Wakefield, who owns the business along with her daughter, should know. Her efforts have harvested an impressive number of beloved play systems over the years, including the popular “Pirate Park” on Daniel Island. The Wakefield Recreation team has built more than 1,000 playgrounds since the company opened in 2000.

“What sets us apart from others who build wooden playgrounds is that we route and sand everything,” she said. “I grew up with Lincoln Logs and erector sets and I’m 60, but I still like to play!”

Safety is clearly a top priority for Wakefield. All designs must meet standards set by the American Society for Testing Materials and Consumer Product Safety Commission guidelines.

“We follow that very closely,” she said. “Safety is the first thing we do in design…We also like to put seating around the edges of our playground and keep our playgrounds open so that Mom and Dad can see the children at all times. That’s very important.”

But of course it is the children who stand to reap the most benefit from her designs, and Wakefield is confident the farm-style playground at Carnes Crossroads will not disappoint.

“The country is a wonderful thing,” she said. “I hope when the kids leave they feel the sense of an old farm with horses that they can ride on…and that they also create things in their own minds, that they can have dramatic play on this playground. They can make it anything they want to, and that’s what is so great about it!”

The new playground is set to open in September.

 

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