Napa starts plan to replace playgrounds after nearly half found in failing, poor condition

City staff unveiled proposed playground designs during a March 20 meeting.|

The city of Napa is moving forward with a plan to replace or retrofit playgrounds in six parks after a report last year found almost half of park infrastructure was in failing or poor condition.

City staff unveiled proposed playground designs March 20 during a Parks, Recreation and Trees Advisory Commission meeting. The city maintains 33 playground sites across 54 parks, and the Napa City Council approved the department moving forward with an upgrade project at just a fraction of those in December.

“This is a $1.4 million project with significant improvements across six parks,” parks and recreation department director Breyana Brandt said at the meeting. “So it’s something our team is really excited about, and that we hope the community is as well.”

Ali Koenig, parks planner and manager for the city, talked through the proposed designs at the meeting, and highlighted a feature from each proposal. The city is currently seeking feedback on the designs, Koenig noted, and that feedback will used to help inform final designs.

Three of the parks will receive complete replacements:

  • Century Oaks Park: the play area is proposed to include an age 5-12 structure, an age 2-5 structure and an area with swings of different types. Koenig highlighted a proposed “We-saw,” a type of multi-seat see-saw.
  • Springwood Park: the largest of the play areas at about 6,000 square feet, would include an age 2-5 structure, an age 5-12 structure, swings, and other play areas.
  • Vineyard Park: for the smallest of the sites, at 1,800 square feet, the would redo an age 2-5 play area, along with swings.

The other three are slated for retrofits.

  • Abruzzini Park: the updated playground would offer a variety of equipment suited for ages 2-5 and 5-12. It includes some motion play options, such as spring-mounted two DigiRiders and a multi-user, multi-directional Oodle Swing.
  • Lake Park: the city would be replacing a number of equipment pieces on the age 5-12 structure, such as slides, and will add shade and agility courses. Koenig highlighted a proposed GeoPlex tower, which consists of complex panels and cables.
  • Vine Hill Park: The city would seek to replace the play equipment that exists at the 5-12 play structure.

Koenig noted that considerations in coming up with the designs included:

  • Play features that aren’t currently available at Napa playgrounds.
  • Swings incorporated where possible. (There are five different swing types included in the park designs.)
  • Inclusive features, essentially allowing access for those of differing abilities to play.
  • Continuous play opportunities, promoted by adding connectivity between play elements.
  • Active play features, which promote motion and social play.

Commissioner Rex Stults said at the meeting he was struck by “how attractive the playgrounds are,” that they’re much more pleasing than the playgrounds he saw when his kids were younger.

“They’re so much more attractive than they were when my kids were young and we were using them quite often,” Stults said. I love the use of the colors, I like the inclusivity, and having something for children of all abilities.”

Renderings can be found on the city’s website at

You can reach Staff Writer Edward Booth at 707-521-5281 or

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