A somewhat lengthy process to build a children's natural playscape in downtown Kalamazoo is coming to fruition, and with it, eventually, a second fancy "Portland Loo" toilet.

Organizers say the new Children's Natural Playscape has achieved its funding goals for phase one of the project, which will be built at 302 Academy Street, adjacent to First Congregational Church, and across from Bronson Park. A release says the church is provided some of the funding to complete the initial project.

The goal is to make a special playground that the project website promises to have an entrance for a "magical area with creative fencing that children will enter through a secret gate." With that, features like plants that "will stimulate the senses through touch, sight, scent, and hearing." Children will be able to explore the sounds of the wood Amadinda (hanging xylophone) and fence chimes as they imagine what beautiful sounds nature brings to us." In addition, organizers say "visually challenged children will be enriched by the tactile nature of trees and shrubs whilst learning their names from markers written in Braille and English."

Not everything will be built at once, as the project will need additional funding for the Portland Loo and some of the sensory features.

Another potential problem is the recent appearance of tents in the area. After the winter ends, will this be another area of conflict between the city and its homeless population? And another question needing to be asked, is about the future of Arcadia Creek Festival Site, which doesn't appear to have a future, with all the construction surrounding it. Arcadia Creek has a playground area along its Water Street side.

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Portland Loo

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