The public will have an opportunity to share ideas that could help shape the future of the playground at The Commons.

The city will solicit feedback from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Monday in the lower lobby of The Commons, 300 Washington St. The meeting will allow individuals to share their thoughts about the playground, Commons manager Shanda Sasse said.

The playground is named after James Henderson, the former CEO of Cummins Inc., who helped raise money for the $18 million Commons building through a public/private partnership.

The playground’s main feature is the 35-foot-tall Luckey Climber, an enclosed climbing area intended for children ages 5 to 12 surrounded by mesh netting. It was designed by the late Thomas Walker Luckey, an artist, sculptor and architect known for creating one-of-a-kind pieces. Other areas of the Commons playground are designed for toddlers ages 6 months to 2 years; and preschool children ages 2 to 5.

The playground, dedicated in April 2011 and part of the new Commons building when it opened two months later, has become a destination for people who live in Columbus as well as visitors to Columbus, Sasse said.

“It’s a wonderful asset. It’s kind of getting to the point where we take a step back and reassess,” Sasse said.

The Commons has budgeted $300,000 for design upgrades to the 5,000-square-foot playground area, said Pam Harrell, director of business services for the parks department.

The city hired Hitchcock Design Group, based in Naperville, Illinois, for $32,000 to develop a design study tied to the playground. Individuals who attend Monday’s meeting will have an opportunity to weigh in with their thoughts, said Randy Royer, principal with Hitchcock Design Group.

“What we hear from the public drives the design,” Royer said. “We hope that the number of users, parents and kids will tell us what they like and don’t like.”

Members of the public who aren’t able to attend also are encouraged to fill out an online survey that will be available through March 9, according to Royer. The information gathered through the public meeting and the survey will help Hitchcock Design Group come up with several conceptual designs for the playground, he said.

Those designs will be presented to the public for consideration at a later date and will include costs estimates tied to any proposed improvements, Royer said.

Sasse said there is no immediate timeline on when potential changes might be made at the playground.

Online survey

A public survey is available for individuals wishing to share their thoughts about the playground at The Commons and will be available through March 9. Visit

If you go

What: Public input meeting concerning the future of The Commons playground

When: 5:30 to 8 p.m. Monday

Where: Lower level of The Commons building, 300 Washington St.

Author photo
Matt Kent is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at 812-379-5712 or