Recreation Director Conducting Inventory of Outdoor Play Spaces

December 23, 2022
Play structure at Bedford MA Playground
When the weather is nice, the playground at the Town Center is a popular place. Staff photo/Wayne Braverman

Recreation Director Josh Smith and his staff are assembling a comprehensive inventory of Bedford play areas and parks and their amenities.

Smith stressed he is focused on the listing and it is premature to survey residents for input. 

“We’re still in the evaluation stage – finding the densely populated areas, where children live, looking at that data,” he said.

The director of the Department of Health and Human Services, whose umbrella includes the Recreation Department, said it will be “important to engage the community about where it makes sense for additional play space.”

Heidi Porter noted, “For some time, this has been a topic. But now I hear it from a public health perspective.”

Smith said shortly after he arrived as director in July, he toured the current spaces with Recreation Department colleagues as well as representatives of the Department of Public Works. 

“You will see the inventory on the department website in a few months, focused on playgrounds and play parks,” he said. 

He noted that the children’s playground across Mudge Way from the police station is already scheduled to be upgraded.

“We want people to have activity,” Porter said. “We want people to be able to walk safely to recreation spaces, and also think about what that space looks like.”

She described a vision of “intergenerational space for recreation, featuring amenities ranging from play structures and chess tables to fitness courts and walking paths – “a lot of different ideas.”

Porter noted that Board of Health members Bea Brunkhorst and Ann Kiessling have been vocal about what they say is the need for additional play and recreation sites. 

“We want to be data driven and spend money in the right way,” the director said.

Recreation opportunities should be a consideration when town boards consider new housing, Porter observed.

When apartment complexes were developed on Middlesex Turnpike, she noted, “The Board of Health was interested in play space, understanding that kids would be living there….That didn’t end up happening, but it has been on the radar for quite a while.”

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December 23, 2022 3:58 pm

I would love to see the skate park redone; it’s an alternative for kids who don’t play mainstream sports. Lexington has an amazing skatepark that is incredibly popular!

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