STAY AND PLAY: Playgrounds
Ah, the lazy days of summer. However, as anyone with children knows, sometimes they just have to get outside and burn off some energy.
Instead of letting them scale your walls and swing off the curtains, head to any one of the local playgrounds in the area.
Some may have water fountains, but just to be safe bring a bottle. Although the maintenance personnel try their best to keep things stocked, it also would be a good idea to bring some tissue and hand sanitizer for the bathrooms.
Many of the play areas are in the direct sun, so sunscreen is also recommended.
New Richmond boasts several playgrounds, not including the elementary school playgrounds at Hillside, Paperjack and Starr.
Mary Park is located at the north end of Green Street. One playground is visible from the entrance, while the other is centered more within the park. They both flank the enclosed building, which houses bathrooms and an open shelter.
The first playground is rather large, with several slides, a rocking dinosaur and a zip line. Benches are staggered around the perimeter which is located one sidewalk-width away from parking.
The second playground on the other side of the bathrooms also is located next to parking spaces, but it sports a smaller play structure for younger children. There is also a climbing wall, very tall slide and merry-go-round. This playground has a couple of trees to provide some shade.
In addition, there are several shelters and picnic tables scattered throughout the park. The park also features tennis courts, a fishing dock and a paved walking trail.
Mary Park is home to an unsupervised swimming beach located just behind the playgrounds. Parents and caregivers are cautioned to keep a close eye on their children while at the park.
Paperjack Park is located at the corner of County Road GG and Bilmar Avenue. It boasts a basketball court/parking lot, enclosed bathrooms, one large open shelter with picnic tables and two playgrounds - one for smaller children and one for older children.
It also has a separate play space with a few swings, merry-go-round and climbing wall. A paved walking trail encircles the park, and there is a open grassy field beside the play area.
There is a creek that runs alongside the park grounds at the base of the hill. Deer have been seen emerging from the woody area on the west side of the creek.
For those north of town, and those with children who would like more restricted boundaries, there is Northside Park located at the corner of Utah Avenue and Third Street.
A big draw is that the play area, basketball court and open field are completely fenced in, with the exception of the park entrance. This is especially nice since the park boundaries run right next to the streets. As a result, there is not an established parking lot.
The playground itself has a larger play area and a toddler play area, complete with regular swings and separate baby swings. There is a small basketball court, and a port-a-potty on site. There are also two picnic tables and a large, flat grassy area toward the back.
Star Prairie has one main playground: the Star Prairie Lions Park at 170 E. Hill Ave. The playground is located behind the ballfields and next to the large shelter with bandstand.
The playground itself is situated on several acres of open grassland, with the newer play equipment taking center stage. The newer area also sports two rocking motorcycles and a few benches.
There is also some older, metal play equipment in the forms of a merry-go-round, slide, swings and monkey bars. Four basketball courts are located in the far back of the field, and they are in need of repair.
Beside the shelter is a concession building that also houses enclosed bathrooms. Parking is not clearly defined, but vehicles can drive right up to the shelter on the unpaved road.
Somerset offers two municipal playgrounds: Larry Forrest Memorial Park and Veterans Park.
Larry Forrest Memorial Park is located off Spring Street and Forrest Drive. It has a huge parking lot with the playground right beside it. In addition to the newer play equipment, there are a rocking airplane and dinosaur with two benches facing the play area. Trees are scattered throughout the vast space, which includes three ballfields, three basketball courts, walking trail, restrooms and picnic shelter.
There is a pond with a fountain in the far northeast corner of the park, which is opposite from the play area.
Veterans Memorial Park is located at the corner of Parnell and Hud streets. It has a large play structure and a smaller structure with two separate baby swings. Four benches skirt the perimeter of the play area and there are two separate shelters with barbeque grills and tables.
It also has two tennis courts and a basketball court. One enclosed building offers bathrooms on the backside. There are plenty of open grassy areas, but they are not level.
Roberts Village Park is located near the Village Hall on Park Street. The park itself sprawls over property which includes a ballfield, two shelters with picnic tables, bathrooms, two tennis courts, two basketball hoops on the paved parking lot, and an enclosed park building available for rental.
There are two playgrounds on the property, both flank the ballfield which is accessible from the gravel parking lot. One play area is suited more for younger children and has a nice shade tree beside it. Benches are available.
The other play area is more in the sun and boasts a larger play structure, as well as "bench-type" merry-go-round, swing set and dirt shovel children can sit on and operate.
There is also a paved skate park available for older kids that features two ramps and a railing about 8 inches off the ground.
The main playground area in Hammond is Village Park, located behind the Village Hall. It features a ballfield with bleachers, a covered shelter building with bathrooms and two basketball courts.
The playground has newer equipment with a stand-alone swing set and rock climbing wall. It is accessible by the nearby paved parking lot.
Across the street is another play area, located at Davis Street and Park Street. A smaller version of Village Park, it has a smaller play structure, one shelter with a grill and one baby swing and one larger swing. There is also a basketball hoop with a small paved area underneath.
The play area is located right beside the paved parking spaces.