senior porch talks

It’s been a year.

A look back…
 
In addition to the over 2200 registrations and hundreds of participants we have served safely in summer camps, in-person classes, and virtual learning this year, as well as the ways we have tried to bring the community together with our social media-driven events, holiday contests, chalk art, drive-in events, and the like, we have been heavily invested in serving the essential needs of our community.
 
Many on our team found themselves doing a little bit of everything here– helping seniors socially and essentially, aiding rent relief programs, supporting teachers, providing childcare, creating safe places to shelter in fire and cold, dispensing clean water for the homeless, supporting downtown dining, making sure our parks, open spaces, and programs were safe to operate under ever-changing State and Public Health guidelines, learning new operations and software processes, and the list goes on. And, we still found a way to open the most magical and spectacular playground on the Peninsula!
 
Please take a few minutes to take in all we have endured together over this past year encapsulated in this video from the State of the City Address this past Monday night. If you missed it or want to re-watch it, no problem, visit www.redwoodcity.org/stateofthecity.
The pandemic may not be over, but it has been a pleasure serving you. We look forward to the days where we can see you, and your whole faces, regularly, again.

Week Two: Keeping a Playground Magical Takes a Village

There is nothing better than designing an amazing place that brings joy and happiness to all who enter. It has really been awesome watching the energy and excitement surrounding Magical Bridge Playground. In order to keep things positive, we feel it is important to continue sharing and educating the community so we can all keep Magical Bridge Playground as enjoyable as possible, as well as keep it open. Here’s what we mean by the latter…

You may have noticed that upon issuing the Regional Stay-at-Home Order in our five surrounding counties, playgrounds and recreational amenities were included in the closures. Shortly after, that piece of the order was reversed and playgrounds, skate parks, and other recreational outdoor amenities have been cleared to stay open, with proper masking, social distancing, and gathering rules strictly abided by. During COVID-19, playgrounds and recreational amenities have proven to be essential. We have always known how vital these spaces are for the community and we are thankful that we can offer families some reprieve from their homes. But again, this comes with a responsibility attached. We are doing everything we can, but we all must do our part to keep each other safe. 

Findings

Since opening, we have been struggling a bit. We have come up with rules and guidelines to help keep our visitors safe and our playground free from harm, but it hasn’t been enough. Here is what we are experiencing as well as additional information about some of our posted rules that may need more explanation.

No bikes or skateboards are allowed in Magical Bridge Playground, ever. 

Magical Bridge Playground is designed for bodies of all ages and abilities, and for some, it is the ONLY place where many members of our community are able to play. Skaters and bikers, we already built you a park. It’s open, roll there. We have had many issues, from construction until now, with folks trespassing onto the playground and treating it poorly. Bikes and skateboards are extremely damaging to the surfaces and structures. These damages have caused delays in our opening, they will cause us to have to close while we repair damages, and it will cost the city a lot of money each time. We are having to pour a large number of resources into protecting this precious and important playground. It’s just not okay. We want you to have incredible family spaces. 

Here is what we have done so far

Hired outside security companies to watch during the latter part of construction.

Increased police presence during closed times at the Playground.

Parks and Recreation Staff have been deployed after hours to stand watch.

Here is what we are working on

While we are recruiting for our Kindness Ambassador Volunteer Program, we are now creating another opportunity for volunteers to assist with monitoring the playground after hours. Stay tuned.

Providing outreach directly to Red Morton Park skaters and bikers and educating them on the negative impact this has.

Installing security cameras and motion sensors.

Adding skate deterrents to playground concrete seating areas. 

Here’s how you can help

Talk to your kids. Educate them about the purpose of the playground and how fortunate we are to have it. Maybe your child or young adult can share this information with others whom they feel might benefit.  🙂

If you observe trespassers in the playground after we close at 5 p.m., we encourage you to report them to the Police Department. Please call 911.

Trespassing in General

Currently, we are open seven days a week from 9 a.m.- 5 p.m. The playground is not lit for evening play and we close when it gets dark. Please do not hop fences. Even though it’s a playground, it’s still trespassing. Also, this does not send a great message to your kids or to other children in the park whose families are compliant. Thanks for your help with this.

Tot Zone Water Play Area

Water play is tons of fun and we love our new Tot Zone water sensory feature! We are also in love with the beautiful redwood grove that borders it. Unfortunately, the tree droppings are making their way over to our water table. Please tell your children to keep the leaves and dirt out of the water basin. We have been spending extra time cleaning this out and it will eventually get clogged and we’ll have to close it down for repairs.

Climbing the Playhouse

We know that kids love to climb. We also are fully aware that children play creatively, coming up with new and exciting ways to enjoy our equipment. While we are supportive of this concept, there are times when this isn’t a great idea. We have tons of climbing opportunities in the playground, but unfortunately, the outside of the Playhouse is not one of them. Thank you for helping us to enforce this with your monkeys. Speaking of monkeys, head over to the “King Kong” climbing ropes on the highest point of the Slide Mound. They are fun, and pro-tip for parents…tiring. You’re welcome.

Bare Feet

Calling all Earthers! We know how joyous feeling the earth under your feet can be, and we have acres of park space next to the playground for you to experience the warmth and texture of our great planet. But just like visiting an amusement park, children’s play attraction, or even coming to day camp, we ask that for your child’s safety, they wear proper footwear and shoes remain ON. We’d hate for you to stub or cut a toe.

Coffee & Gum

Lastly, we mentioned this one in last week’s blog post. We are very aware that coffee can be a crucial part of the morning park parenting experience. Unfortunately, we are finding spills around the playground that are tough to clean up. Please try to finish your coffee prior to arriving. Remember, Magical Bridge Playground was designed for everybody. You can play too! By finishing your coffee before visiting, you will be primed and have all the energy you will need to run up the slide mound. Plus, it allows you to keep your mask on while you watch the little ones play!

Gum is self-explanatory. Please keep it out of the playground and off of our Sports Field Turf. 

Thank you in advance.

We hope that by sharing this information with you we have given you a greater understanding of the challenges we are facing, how we are addressing them, and how you can do your part as a good steward of the community! We know some of these rules may seem atypical for a playground, but Magical Bridge is not typical. 

Magical Bridge Playground is a gift, and we are doing everything in our power to make sure it stays magical. Thank you for your kindness, support, and compliance. 

FOR MORE INFORMATION

For more info on Magical Bridge Playground visit our website, here.

Prepare for your visit, read last week’s blog post here.

More information about how to play safely on our Redwood City playgrounds can be found here.

Here are the CDC’s safety guidelines for visiting parks and recreational facilities.

Lastly, here are the California Department of Public Health requirements for playground safety.

Please play safely! We are all in this together.

Magical Bridge Playground, We’re Learning.

We opened on December 1, 2020!

We quietly opened the highly anticipated Magical Bridge Playground on Tuesday, December 1, and had the perfect number of users come to play. It was incredible to see the playground activated and we watched for hours as members of all ages and abilities climbed, swung, slid, and explored.

Not only was it a proud moment for our team, but extremely educational. We used the time to carefully watch how the play areas were being utilized, listen to our visitors, and learn what systems needed to be put in place to help our guests better understand the playground rules as well as our playground admission process during this complicated time. It’s important to note that while our county is in the Purple Tier, playgrounds are still allowed to remain open with modifications, and that is exactly what we have done. For the State’s Blue Print for a Safer Economy, go
here.
What we have learned
As we head into the weekend, we want to share with you what we have learned this week and what you can expect moving forward–in the short term, of course. Our rules will change with the State and County guidelines as the virus rates change. Please do your best to play safely, treat each other with kindness, be patient with our staff, you never know what someone else is going through, and we are all in this together.

 

Please note that we are closely following the State, Region, and County guidelines and that a Stay-at-Home Order may be issued. We will follow this closely and will post any changes once we are made aware of them. This is another reason why wearing masks, social distancing, washing hands, and following the Playground rules are so important. Thank you for your help!

 

1. Strollers, scooters & bikes

We have set up two areas for stroller and scooter parking. You can find stroller parking in front of the Playhouse and in the Swing/Innovation Zone which runs parallel to the Valota Road parking lot. Strollers must stay on the concrete surfaces and should not travel with you from zone to zone. Wheels in general cause damage to our rubber matting surfaces which is expensive to replace. Wheelchairs are the only wheeled mobility aid allowed on all surfaces. Please park your strollers and scooters in these designated areas. Bikes may not enter the park. Bike racks can be found currently at the South Entrance (Valota Road Parking Lot) and we are in the process of adding more racks to the North Entrance.

2. No food or drink is allowed

This is a COVID-19 rule, but in general, it is also a Magical Bridge Playground rule. The grounds of this playground cannot support ground-in-food, sticky drinks, or coffee spills on our surfaces. Our surfaces are also one of the main staples of our accessibility. Not only are messes extremely difficult to clean, but they are sometimes impossible to remove, and the only remedy is expensive turf replacement and park closures. This is the same reason we do not allow wheels.  Plus, we are in the process of creating special areas called “Nibble Nooks” in multiple areas around the playground fencing in addition to the picnic area that will be completed next year.

Water bottles are permitted, but please keep them with you or packed away in your strollers or bags out of sight from others. We have already noticed stray sippy cups and other children attempting to pick them up and drink from them.

3. Playground Hours

The playground will be open daily from 9:00am-5:00pm, 7 days a week unless otherwise noted. If a stay at home order is issued, we will close.

4. Playground Entrance

Entry will be limited to the two lower gates: North Entrance (Veterans Memorial Senior Center side) and South Entrance (Valota Rd. Parking Lot). Capacity is limited to 80 visitors on the playground. Once the playground reaches capacity, we will only start a line at the SOUTH ENTRANCE. This ensures everyone can enter in the order they arrived. Please practice social distancing and mask-up while waiting.

5. Capacity

In addition to the playground capacity of 80, you will notice that each area is marked with a zone capacity. While these numbers are based upon the entire area of the zone, it will be up to you and your children to maintain social distance on the play amenities.

6. 30-minute limit while others are waiting

Our community is very eager to play at Magical Bridge Playground. During COVID-19 regulations, all of our playgrounds have a posted limit of 30 minutes while others are waiting. We ask that you kindly pay attention to your arrival time and be aware that once a line forms, we may need to ask you to leave in order for more folks to come in to enjoy the playground. Once a line forms, our team will walk around the playground with gentle bells alerting you that the clock-watching has begun.  Please understand this is the least favorite part of anyone’s job, it is not in our DNA to ask people to stop playing, so your help in monitoring your own time is greatly appreciated.

7. jack frost has been visiting, use caution

Burr. We’ve had some cold mornings. Morning dew and cold weather have resulted in some frosty conditions on the Slide Mound, some pathways, and our Water Sensory Rock Area. Please make sure to check the surface of the rocks prior to letting your kids climb and use caution during the earlier morning hours. This area can be very slippery. Current thawing usually happens between 9:30am-10:00am

Reminders

Just to keep everything in one place, here are some of our gentle reminders from our last post. Thank you for helping us to play safely!

No dogs allowed

Sorry, dogs, you know we love you, but you are not allowed inside the playground. Service dogs are permitted.

Face Masks

While as a whole, face masks will be required of every individual entering the playground age 2 and up, we also understand that not everyone can wear a mask. For those who are unable to wear a mask for medical reasons, our staff will provide a sticker for them to wear. If you see someone wearing a sticker, please be kind, understanding, and practice social distancing.

Wear Proper Footwear

Wear appropriate footwear at all times. Bare feet, flip-flops, high heels, and cleats are not permitted.

Wash, wash, wash your hands!

Please wash your hands or use hand sanitizer before entering and as often as possible while playing. Hand washing stations are available onsite, and the restroom will also be open.

Help us out, BYO Wipes

We encourage you to “bring your own wipes” and to self-clean any high-touch surfaces before using them. Staff will not be cleaning the playground throughout the day.

Keep toys and cardboard boxes at home

In addition, cardboard boxes (which we know are very popular on the slide mound in Palo Alto) and personal toys are not allowed in the playground at this time.

Subject to Change

As we have already experienced, the protocol is subject to change. We are aware of the uncertainty of these times and are doing our best to provide safety guidelines that will allow us to keep our playgrounds open, but ultimately it takes a village. We ask for patience and kindness while we navigate the evolution of this space because after all, it’s our first pandemic too. 

Thank you in advance for your attention to these protocols which are in place to protect the safety of the whole community. Your actions affect the health and safety of everyone and will help to keep our playground open and magical.

Kindness Ambassador

Become a Kindness Ambassador!

There is no better volunteer job to put on your resume than this! Thanks to our partnership with the Redwood City Parks and Arts Foundation, we will have a group of volunteers to help us open Magical Bridge, also known as Kindness Ambassadors, who will help keep the playground safe and magical for all who visit. As a Kindness Ambassador, your goal is to create a fun and inclusive space where visitors of all ages and abilities feel welcome. At this time, we are only accepting applications for Kindness Ambassadors ages 18 and up. You must be able to dedicate a minimum of 4 hours a month for at least 6 months (shifts are 2 hours long). Kindness Ambassadors will help safely open the playground and help lead family-friendly events and activities, once we are safely able to do so. Kindly click here to apply!

FOR MORE INFORMATION

More information about how to play safely on our Redwood City playgrounds can be found here.

Visit our park and facility FAQ page for up-to-date information on closures and guidelines, here.

Here are the CDC’s safety guidelines for visiting parks and recreational facilities.

San Mateo County Officials Reinforce Message to Stay Safe and Support
Each Other to Follow All COVID-19 Health and Safety Measures

Lastly, here are the California Department of Public Health requirements for playground safety.

Please play safely! We are all in this together.

WE HAVE MAGICAL NEWS!

Redwood City’s Magical Bridge Playground in Red Morton Park will open on
Tuesday, December 1, 2020

We are excited to share that the much anticipated Magical Bridge Playground in Redwood City’s Red Morton Park will open to the public on Tuesday, December 1, 2020 at 11:00 am!

In partnership with Magical Bridge Foundation, our team has been hard at work not only getting the playground ready for the public to enjoy, but designing protocol that allows this popular attraction to open safely under the guidelines set forth by the County and State due to COVID-19.

We take the safety of our community very seriously and have put a lot of care and thought into how to responsibly open our beloved playground. Due to the excitement surrounding the opening of this particular site, we are implementing rules and guidelines that will be specific to the Magical Bridge Playground, like the addition of operating hours and the providing of staff and volunteers to support keeping the community safe while they play.

Starting December 2, Magical Bridge Playground in Red Morton Park will be open to the public 7 days a week, from 9:00 AM to dusk, unless otherwise noted. On opening day, the playground will open at 11am and close at dusk.

MAGICAL BRIDGE PLAYGROUND PROTOCOL DURING COVID-19 

Protocol subject to change.

We understand that these are uncertain times. We are doing our best to provide safety guidelines that will allow us to open Magical Bridge, but ultimately it takes a village. We ask for patience and kindness while we navigate the evolution of this space because after all, it’s our first pandemic too.

This is a playground built on the premise of kindness. Please be kind and respectful to city staff, volunteers aka Kindness Ambassadors, and all who visit our magical space.

Entry will be limited to the two lower gates: North Entrance (Veterans Memorial Senior Center side) and South Entrance (Valota Rd. Parking Lot).

Capacity is limited to 75 visitors on the playground. Once the playground reaches capacity, socially distant lines will form outside the two lower gates with markings 6 feet apart to keep you safe while you wait. Our Magical Bridge Team will monitor capacity and make sure that social distancing protocol is maintained while in line.

Just like our other playgrounds, visits are limited to 30 minutes per group while others are waiting. Please be prepared that a Kindness Ambassador/staff person may ask you to leave the playground if max capacity is reached and there is a line. Please exercise kindness and support these safety guidelines, which follow strict State regulations.

Please wash your hands or use hand sanitizer before entering and as often as possible while playing. Hand washing stations are available onsite, and the restroom will also be open.

We encourage you to “bring your own wipes” and to self-clean any high-touch surfaces before using. Staff will not be cleaning the playground throughout the day.

While as a whole, face masks will be required of every individual entering the playground age 2 and up, we also understand that not everyone can wear a mask. For those who are unable to wear a mask for medical reasons, our staff will provide a sticker for them to wear. If you see someone wearing a sticker, please be kind, understanding and practice social distancing.

Please maintain 6 ft. distance between households/pods while playing and while waiting in line for any playground amenity.

Food and beverages are not allowed inside the Magical Bridge Playground. In addition, cardboard boxes (which we know are very popular on the slide mound) and personal toys are not allowed in the playground at this time.

Thank you in advance for your attention to these protocols which are in place to protect the safety of the whole community. Your actions affect the health and safety of everyone and will help to keep our playground open and magical.Kindness Ambassador

Become a Kindness Ambassador!

There is no better volunteer job to put on your resume than this!

Thanks to our partnership with the Redwood City Parks and Arts Foundation, we will have a group of volunteers to help us open Magical Bridge, also known as Kindness Ambassadors, who will help keep the playground safe and magical for all who visit.

As a Kindness Ambassador, your goal is to create a fun and inclusive space where visitors of all ages and abilities feel welcome.

At this time, we are only accepting applications for Kindness Ambassadors ages 18 and up. You must be able to dedicate a minimum of 4 hours a month for at least 6 months (shifts are 2 hours long). Kindness Ambassadors will help safely open the playground and help lead family-friendly events and activities, once we are safely able to do so.

Kindly click here to apply!

FOR MORE INFORMATION

More information about how to play safely on our Redwood City playgrounds can be found here.

Visit our park and facility FAQ page for up-to-date information on closures and guidelines, here.

Here are the CDC’s safety guidelines for visiting parks and recreational facilities.

Lastly, here are the California Department of Public Health requirements for playground safety.

Please play safe! We are all in this together.

Summer Playground Safety Reminders

Summer will technically be here tomorrow (June 20), and with the current record high temperatures, we thought it would be a great to remind parents and providers about some basic playground safety tips.

The City of Redwood City designs playgrounds that meet and often exceed all top safety standards to ensure safe play for all, but negligence and inappropriate behavior can put your child’s health at risk.  A study issued by the CPSC evaluated playground injury cases and found that from 2009 to 2014, nearly 1.5 million injuries associated with playground equipment were treated nationally in emergency rooms, translating to about 243,000 ER-treated injuries per year. More than half of these injuries occurred in children between the ages of 5 and 9 years of age.

Here are some safety tips to keep in mind while visiting our parks that can help your child play safely, not only on hot days, but all year-round!

  • Always supervise kids and make sure kids use playground equipment appropriate for their age.
  • Always be aware of the sun and weather conditions, and do not assume that the equipment is safe because it is made of plastic, especially slides. We do not have to be in a heat wave in order for equipment to heat up and cause burns. If it feels hot to your hand, it may be too hot for a child’s bare skin!
  • Remember that not only playground equipment, but playground surfacing, may also cause burns. We recommend wearing proper footwear.
  • Never attach ropes, jump ropes, pet leashes or strings to playground equipment; children can strangle on these.
  • Make sure children’s clothing does not have any drawstrings as they can catch on slides and other equipment.
  • Please remove bike helmets when on playground equipment. A helmet may get stuck on a piece of equipment (and even in a tree) and strangle a child.
  • Teach children that pushing, shoving or crowding while on the playground can be dangerous.
  • If you see that equipment is broken in one of our parks, please report it immediately by calling (650) 780-7250 or providing notification at MyRWC.

Additional resources about playground safety

Wishing you and your family a fun and safe summer!