Meet the Designer



Meet John Dean. He was part of the team that designed the original Joey’s Park 25 years ago, and he is lead designer of the updated park today. In September John spent a day with the children of Winn Brook School talking about their ideas for a dream playground. Since then, he has been hard at work making as much of that reality as possible. We asked him some questions about the overall process; here are his answers.

Q. Do kids make good playground designers?

A. Absolutely. They make it fun, lighthearted and give the playground soul. You walk into the classroom and it’s like asking them what they want for Christmas.

Q. The kids get to watch while you sketch a playground design. Hours later, you present an initial design to the community. Do you feel pressure?

A. I do. It’s like taking the architecture exam. The kids see me during lunch and they see that it’s literally pieces of paper with scribbles all over them. It has to be a professional, real design to scale. It will be the base for the design down the line. We’ll be doing working blue prints off that design.

Q. A lot of volunteers will be needed when it comes to time to eventually build the playground. Describe what it’s like to be part of a community build.

A. It’s wow. It’s one of the reasons we’ve been doing this for so long. Volunteers feel good in their hearts. If you get volunteers there the first couple of days, they’ll come back.

Q. Will the new Joey’s Park retain the original park’s magic?

A. Absolutely. Designs have become more exciting in general, especially with input. It will have that look the original one has, it’s just going to be more exciting. We’re going to build an amazing playground.