Winter Park seeks input on beloved ‘Castle Park’ playground renovation

35-year-old playground must meet safety standards, city says

Community Playground, AKA "Castle Park" (courtesy photo) (City of Winter Park)

WINTER PARK, Fla. – Community Playground at Martin Luther King Jr. Park, a 35-year-old wooden playground better known to locals as “Castle Park,” is set to undergo renovations after decades of wear, and the city of Winter Park on Thursday invited the public to attend a meeting to decide how that should happen.

According to a news release, the meeting will be held at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 19, at the Winter Park Community Center, located at 721 W. New England Drive.

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The playground’s story exudes community involvement, built by volunteers and designed by architect Robert Leathers with suggestions made by children from Audubon Park, Brookshire and Lakemont elementary schools, as reported in March 1987 by Yvonne C.T. Vassel of the Orlando Sentinel.

One of the children’s suggestions was to include a pirate ship, something that indeed made it to the final design. Being a playground, many people who grew up with Castle Park saw different things in it. Personally, the ship was my favorite.

“For the last three decades, this playground has served as a fort, castle and imagination zone to thousands of children,” the city said in a statement.

Decades later, locals revisiting the park as adults may note how smooth and dark the wood has become with age, or at least how much smaller the park is now compared to when they explored it as kids. Though the park hasn’t actually shrunk, the city said in the release that “necessary renovation and upgrades” are now needed to meet modern playground safety standards.

So whether you believe the park just needs a good sanding and spit-shine, or if it should be replaced completely with plastic and shredded tires, the city asks that you make plans to attend the meeting and make your suggestions.

Those seeking more information were encouraged to contact or (407) 599-3357.

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About the Author:

Brandon, a UCF grad, joined the ClickOrlando team in November 2021. Before joining News 6, Brandon worked at WDBO.