By Dave McMinn

On an autumn evening in 2017, residents of Fireside at Norterra saw their community playground area engulfed in flames, which ultimately destroyed the huge play structure and shade sails. It was a sad night and a tough blow for the hundreds of families who watched their kids learn to jump, climb, and slide on that very same playground.

But in true Phoenix form, a brand-new playground has risen from the ashes. And the residents couldn’t be happier. After several design concepts were voted on by Fireside residents, the winning design was installed, featuring a completely new play structure, ground cover, shade sails, and even a wheelchair ramp. The bright new colors showcase the playground’s nautical theme, including port holes, rope ladders, a spy glass, and even a giant fish. The play structure was smartly designed with features for all different ages. Toddlers can explore an age-appropriate wonderland of paths, nooks, and slides, while older kids perfect their climbing and balancing skills throughout the structure.

With the new structure in place, the families of Fireside wasted no time returning. In fact, within minutes of reopening, the playground was alive with the joy and laughter that had been missing for so many months following the fire. Kids once again have access to shaded, outdoor playtime. And parents are thrilled over the return of one of the most popular social hubs in the community. On a recent Saturday there were more than a few stroller-pushing moms, dads, and grandparents enjoying an impromptu meetup with some adult conversation. Christina, a Fireside homeowner and mother of two, summed up the sentiment shared by many residents: “We didn’t realize how much the structure meant to us until it was closed for repairs. It’s nice to get our playground back.”