The Commons in Columbus is a community gathering place, event space and, for the youngest visitors, a sprawling, brightly colored indoor playground. City officials are planning to modernize the play space to keep up with the times, and the kids.
The Columbus Commons is a sleek, modern building in the heart of the city. It’s finished with blonde woods, glass, and chrome fixtures. In the center stands a massive moving sculpture of whirring wheels, mirrors and cogs. The gears on the sculpture turn noisily, but if you listen closely you can hear the laughter of children spilling in from the next room over.
“The Commons itself is kind of thought of as the community living room, so the playground is just kind of a staple,” says Shanda Sasse, manager of the Columbus Commons.
The playground is spattered with vibrant primary colors in all shapes and sizes. Most surfaces are covered with a soft rubber material to lessen the impact of falls.
“It’s a good problem to have. The playground is so beloved.”
“It’s amazing the enjoyment and vigor that our guests have on the playground,” Sasse says.
Even though it looks bright and shiny, the playground is now seven years old and starting to show its age.
Sasse says the playground is in highest demand on weekends and during school vacations, but she says it’s almost always busy. That amount of traffic is part of what has brought about the need for an update.
“It’s a good problem to have,” Sasse says. “The playground is so beloved.”
She says the towering ‘Lucky Climber’ is the only element of the playground that won’t change much, but the rest of the playground is likely to be updated, following resident feedback.
“Our efforts with the Commons staff and the Commons board, we’re here to listen to the community,” Sasse says. “We certainly want and request their input. This is their building, so we certainly want to make sure that it reflects what the community expects of us.”
The city recently started discussing plans with a design group and public input sessions are expected to begin soon.