On February 18 I made one of my nearly twice a week (or more) treks to Jacobson Park to catch the sunrise, the blue herons and the peace of the lake. This is a Joy Point spot for me where I can take a breath, relax and meditate in my own way.
On that day I personally witnessed and photographed the sad and heartbreaking destruction and teardown of a well-known landmark in Lexington — the beloved Jacobson Park Playground was being torn down.
A Bobcat digs into the wooden playground equipment on Feb. 18
Crews work on the teardown of beloved playground
Two of my grandchildren playing “Drive Thru Restaurant” in one of the many cubby holes in 2014
I knew it might be coming soon, but had hoped that the outcry from residents via the Save Jacobson Park Playground Facebook Page and other sites would have had some impact. In fact, in support of keeping this park, back in September 2014 I was asked to publish an article regarding the playground and I wrote my feelings then and continue to have those feelings that this was something that should have remained as it promoted creativity and independence for the children that played on this playground. The article was published in the local Hamburg Journal. All to no avail.
My own family enjoying the fun playground in 1998
For at least the 20 years that my family has lived in the Lexington area, we have frequented this playground at Jacobson Park as have 1000s of other families.
I began taking my own children there a number of years ago and more recently I have frequented the park often with my grandchildren over the last five or six years. I make treks to Jacobson Park almost daily to photograph the wildlife and the beauty of the lake in the tranquility. The natural setting of the playground added to that.
THREE GENERATIONS OF ENJOYMENT
Family on Park Playground Equipment in 1998
My grandchildren enjoying the park in 2014
Youngest granddaughter Lyla clings to one of the many wooden posts in 2014
Climbing high in 2014. Lots of entertainment and imagination
Grandson Landen runs along one of the plank staircases
I have personally spent many hours sitting on one of the wooden benches in the with my back to the lake and my eyes to the playground watching the joyful and playful attitude of not only my grandchildren and children, but dozens and dozens of other kids. All of the children that played here became instant friends and they would play hide and seek, or pirate ships or other such games. The design of the equipment evoked creativity.
The City of Lexington has laid out plans to create a new playground that is compatible with ADA (American Disability Act) standards (see detailed plans here
), but many of us that have reviewed those plans were sorely disappointed in what will replace what was probably the most iconic and entertaining playground in the city of Lexington. Hundreds, if not 1000s of Lexington residents felt as though the city could have added upon the current structure rather than spend the money to tear down what was still a viable and enjoyable structure for many. The entire project is costing nearly $500,000. For the half million dollars being spent on this project, the original structures could have been added to and improved many times over and an ADA viable playground addition could have been constructed…in my opinion.
A billboard at the park details the future playground, scheduled for June 2016
Outcry as seen on Facebook. Over 600 shares from my Feb. 18 post
Some comments from a different Facebook post show the sadness of the community
To add to the disappointment of this icon being torn down is the fact that the new playground won’t have the natural feel of wood that fits in so nicely with the natural characteristics of Jacobson Lake and Jacobson Park. There’s a part of me that just cannot imagine geese and blue herons hanging around plastic playground equipment.
A Blue Heron flies by the playground in early Feb. 2016
Token remnant of the current playground that will remain, but will not be accessible for play any longer.
But, as a token of the historic nature of the park, the City has left a couple of pieces to serve as a “landmark.” To many it will serve as a sad reminder of by-gone days of fun, creativity and play.
Following are a few more photos I have taken over the years of this wonderful playground and included at the end are the final days, if not the final day of this playground.
The Spires if the Playground
A view of Jacobson Lake as seen from a bench on the playground
The playground as viewed in January 2016 after a snowfall
Geese look at the demolition (with sadness I am sure)
Remnants of the structure as seen on Feb. 20
The last day of the structure on the morning of Feb. 18, 2016
1000s of memories into the dumpster on February 18