Chris Neumann 0

Build a playground on Ross Common

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In 2015, a town-owned house that sits on the Common burned down (the house was initially used as subsidized employee housing, then as a rental unit when no employees wanted to live there). The Town Council is reviewing a proposal on December 8th to put a nature-based park at this location. We think a nature-based park would prove a commendable and valuable addition to our town for the following reasons:

  1. First and foremost, the land in question is designated as part of the Ross Common, meaning this parcel is supposed to be a park for public use and should be used for the common good.
  2. Ross School playgrounds are closed during school hours. Therefore, there is no public playground available for young children during peak play hours.
  3. Even when the Ross School playgrounds are open, they are not suitable or safe for younger children (under 5 years of age).
  4. A nature-based playground is a radically different concept than the conventional school playgrounds or Pixie Park. Natural playgrounds are amazingly beneficial on numerous levels: they encourage creativity, decrease toxic exposure, are calming, and best of all, the research shows that in such environments "children more than doubled the time they spent playing." Here is a link to the article. Another study by the University of Tennessee in 2007 supports these findings about nature based playgrounds: “Natural Play helps [children] score higher on tests for concentration and self-discipline, helps them experience more diverse play, and helps them exhibit less aggressive behavior, and become healthier. And — they’re perfect outdoor classrooms! "
  5. Ross is only town in Marin without a public playground. Adding a nature-based park should increase our town’s appeal and ability to attract families with young children thereby increasing home values.
  6. The proposed park will benefit the Ross Preschool by providing ample space for enrolled children, thereby making school more desirable and competitive.
  7. The park could provide an outdoor classroom setting for the Ross Elementary School.
  8. The park will serve as a sorely needed place for younger siblings to play while waiting during school pick-up, soccer matches, etc. It will also be an ideal setting for children to have impromptu play dates after school (especially for Kindergartners).
  9. Foot traffic to the park can increase revenue for local shops as parents will likely grab a cup of coffee before heading to the park or will stop for lunch or a snack before heading home.
  10. Peak hours for the park will be morning, as most young children are out in the morning and home for an afternoon nap, which should reduce parking issues.

We sincerely hope that you will lend support to what we feel would be an invaluable asset to the children, parents, schools and businesses in our town. To support this cause:

  • Forward a link to this petition.
  • Sign the petition and leave a comment if desired.
  • Email the Council directly at and tell them why you support a nature-based park.
  • Best of all, please (please!) come to the Town Council meet on December 8th at 6pm! We can't stress enough how impactful your attendance and voice will be.

I have been struck over and over with the level of community involvement in Ross, it is easy to list the many tangible ways your efforts have improved our community. Here is yet one more opportunity to make a positive impact on our town. Thank you in advance for your time and efforts.

Warmly and with gratitude,

Mary Ann Neumann, Adriana Cox, Sophie Gray & Mindy Nowak

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