Park for new generation

Howard At Play

August 15, 2004

Above, Devon Mayhew, 9, of Columbia makes her way across a set of bars at the new playground at Centennial Park in Ellicott City. The park, already popular because of its lake, network of trails, free concerts and other attractions, has begun to draw a younger crowd, thanks to the new amenity.

The playground, which is to the west of the park's Route 108 entrance, improves on the old playground it replaces in several respects. Instead of trudging through mulch, children now run over 6,700 square feet of safer and cleaner poured-in-place rubber atop a base of recycled tires. On this surface stands a colorful complex of slides and climbing equipment, including tubes, ramps, "toadstools" that children can use as elevated steppingstones, and rock-climbing walls - such as the one being scaled by West Friendship resident Jacob Justice, 8, (below) as John Tonasic, 10, of Columbia looks on.

Raul Delerme, a planner for the Howard County Department of Recreation and Parks who designed the playground, said the facility is meant for children ages 5 to 12. The cost was $158,000.

One deliberate omission from the new facility: no swings. They require too much space, Delerme said, and will be installed elsewhere in the park.

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