The project was initiated by the community and overseen by NeighborSpace, a nonprofit land trust organization that saw potential in an underutilized green space that was previously a neighborhood arboretum that had fallen into disrepair after years of neglect. By maintaining the existing mature trees and natural topography on the site, creative play elements were incorporated into the landscape in an effort to encourage interaction, play, and exploration with nature. Nature-based play features were accented with reclaimed and repurposed materials acquired by the community.
The McKinley Park Community Play Garden has become a valued community resource for the surrounding area, a community with limited access to nature and open space. The success of the garden may be attributed in large part to the tremendous efforts by the client and community in envisioning, realizing, and now maintaining the space for all.