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The play area at Highland Park Community Center (1978 Ford Parkway) is over 20 years old and in need of replacing.  The play area remains a popular neighborhood destination and gathering place even though there is a high concentration of other play areas in the area.

This project will replace the existing play equipment that is inaccessible to those with disabilities and does not meet current CPSC playground safety standards.  Other site improvements such as new site furnishings and landscaping will be considered pending available funding.

Project Updates

October 29, 2019:  There are additional construction work that the play area contractor has started to work on. Three (3) ADA ramps will be added in the 2-5, 5-12, and swing bay play containers. Parts of the play area will be closed. Please keep children out of these areas until work is completed. In addition to this work, the contractor will be correcting drainage issues in the 2-5 play container and the concrete walk south of the community center. The staircase from Hillcrest Ave, at the end of the cul de sac, will be closed during construction. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause you and your family.

December 12, 2018:  The new railings are installed and the construction fence have been removed.

November 21, 2018:  The play area is now open!  There are some construction fence up onsite along the walk south of the play area and around the ramp north of the play area until the new railings are installed.  Railings are being fabricated and anticipated for install next week.  The additional work to correct water drainage on the concrete walk behind the community center is on hold until spring 2019.

November 13, 2018:  The bituminous walk is completed and the last piece of the public art is onsite.  The public art sculpture is anticipated for install tomorrow (11/14).  All site furnishings except for the picnic tables are installed.  Additional work to correct water drainage will begin shortly on the concrete walk behind the community center at the bottom of the staircase from Hillcrest Ave.  Most of play area site restoration is completed and the contractor anticipates to complete the rest this week.  Here are images from today.

October 30, 2018:  The play equipment is near completion.  The rubber surfacing is installed.  After all play equipment are installed, the engineered wood fiber will be blown into the play containers.  The contractor has installed the concrete walk and planted all shrubs and trees.  The public art is installed.  Next, the contractor is planning to install the bituminous walk and site furnishings followed by site restoration.  Here are images (large file) of the current site construction.

*Due to the recent wet weather, the project schedule was pushed back and is anticipated to be completed mid-November.

October 16, 2018:  The contractor is prepping the site to install the new concrete walk on the north side of the construction.  Simultaneously, the play equipment contractor continues to assemble and install the play equipment. 

October 05, 2018:  Most of the new play curbs are installed.  The play equipment contractor is in the process of installing the play equipment.  Due to the recent rain, the contractor anticipates to complete the play equipment installation next week.

September 28, 2018:  The contractor is in the process of installing the new play curbs and is anticipated to be completed today.  The play equipment and play surfacing are anticipated to be installed next week.  Look forward to the new play equipment!

September 13, 2018:  The contractor is 90% complete with the new retaining wall.  They will finish the retaining walls this week and begin on the curbs next week.

September 7, 2018:  The contractor has started installing the new retaining walls along the north and south side of the play area.  Here are a few images of the new retaining wall.  It is anticipated for the retaining walls to be completed by next week, September 10th.  Curb installation is planned after the retaining walls are completed.

August 31, 2018:  Demolition is mostly completed.  The contractor is in the process of finalizing grading preparing the site for the new retaining wall installation planned for next week.  Here are a few images.

August 16, 2018:  Here are several images of demolition.  The contractor plans to finish demolition next week and begin grading.  Stair access to the community center, north of the play area, remains open.

August 10, 2018:  The play area is fenced and closed.  Here are several images.  The contractor plans to break ground next week.  I'm excited for construction to begin and for the new play area!

July 23, 2018:  The contractor plans to install erosion control and temporary fencing this week and to break-ground next week, July 30th.  Here is the graphic that will be posted at the construction site showing the plan of the play area.  Below are images of the new play equipment.

July 3, 2018:  The Highland Community Center Play Area construction is tentatively scheduled to begin the week of July 23, 2018.  Construction is anticipated to end in October 2018.  As a reminder, the entire play area will be closed.  Access to the community center, north of the play area, will remain open during construction.  Access will be temporarily closed when construction is happening near the building.

June 20, 2018:  We are happy to report that we now have a contract with Artist Peter Morales, who was selected from a group of three artists with significant support from the community.  Peter immediately provided us with his concept which responded to the direction given in the Request for Qualifications.  During the community engagement process, the community indicated the art should be playful and interactive.  There was a desire to have art that could be integrated along a path and provide an opportunity for exploration.  Peter's concept follows that direction perfectly.  The following link will take you to his concept statement which includes graphics of the proposed artwork.

After you have had a chance to look through the submission, please share your thoughts with us at

May 18, 2018:  We are currently awarding a contract for construction.  We hope to be able to start construction in a few weeks.  When a more detailed schedule is available, we'll post a new project update.

February 9, 2018:  The survey for the selection of the Public Artist has closed.  Thank you for participating in the survey.  Peter Morales received the most votes.  We will establish a contract with Peter and will share more details in the near future about the public art as we get into the design process for the art.

January 25, 2018:  Public Artist Review and Selection

The City of Saint Paul Department of Parks and Recreation has received interest from three artists for the development of Public Art at Highland Community Center as part of the play area improvement project.  We are looking for your assistance with selecting an artist for the project.  Please use the two-step process outlined below to help us select the artist for the project.

1.  Review the following artist statements and work samples at the following links.  Please keep in mind, the work samples exhibit the qualifications and style/media of the artist.  The selected artist will work within the project budget to develop art that is appropriate for the park.  The survey will stay open until 12:00 noon on Friday February 9th.

2.  Vote for your preferred artist here - The survey has closed.  Thank you for your participation in the survey.

Thank you for helping us with this selection process!


Pop-Up Meeting:  September 26, 2017

We held a pop up meeting at the Highland Community Center on Wednesday September 20th from about 4:30 - 6:00.  This was a great opportunity to interact with children playing on the equipment and parents and teachers supervising their children.  Notes from the meeting can be reviewed here:

Open House:

An OPEN HOUSE has been scheduled for Monday October 16th from 5:00 - 7:00 in the Highland Community Center Community Room.  Proposed play area layout, play equipment, and site amenity plans will be presented for review and feedback from the community.

Meeting 3:  August 22, 2017

Notes and PowerPoint presentation from the third community meeting can be accessed here:

Meeting 1:  March 22, 2017

The first community meeting with the Design Advisory Group was held on Tuesday March 21st.  The meeting consisted of a project introduction which included a project description and a schedule.  The City presented the site context, reviewed Goals and Objectives, and Issues and Opportunities.  The Design Advisory Group helped develop a list of Needs and Wants for the play area and site.  Three schematic concepts were presented and discussed.  Lastly, opportunities for Public Art were discussed.  The meeting presentation materials can be reviewed here.

Notes from the meeting can be viewed here.

Last Edited: July 15, 2021