Amusement, activity as new playground opens in Russells Mills

Oct 9, 2020

A new option for those tired of staying at home during the pandemic has arrived, as a brand-new playground at Russells Mills Landing opened to the public this week.

Kids could be seen climbing and sliding all over the equipment on Oct. 9 as parents and family members relaxed, chatted, and ate lunch nearby.

The town replaced the playground as part of a few upgrades to the landing over the past few years, which included resurfacing the tennis courts and improving the parking and boat launch facilities. 

Town Meeting signed off on $280,000 for the project in October last year.

In a time when everyone is on edge and feeling vulnerable, said parent Dana Tavares, “This feels like a safe space.”

The Dartmouth resident brought her family out to play on a sunny Friday afternoon, and was watching her five-year-old daughter Rowan climb her favorite ropes.

“Every day we drive by, and she says ‘Is it ready yet?’” Tavares laughed. “So we finally came by this week and it was open! We’ve been here three times since.”

“It’s awesome,” she added. “It’s just nice to have something new to do, especially in these times. And it’s in a beautiful setting.”

Picnic tables and benches lined the bank of the Slocum River at the edge of the playground as birds flew past in the afternoon sun.

“We were just thinking we could spend the whole day here,” said Tavares. “We could come have lunch...It’s really like a nice little oasis.”

As for Covid-19, she said, she’s not concerned for her family. 

“We’re outside, and I feel pretty comfortable with where we are right now,” she noted. “And to me, for the mental health of the kids, to be able to get out, see some other faces, it’s a balancing act.” 

A few other families were enjoying the spot too.

“I didn’t even know that they were doing this,” said Norman Gunderson, who came with his two grandchildren. “We came up the day before yesterday. And they wanted to come back again today.”

He noted that although he is concerned about Covid, “kids still have to live. We still have to live. So you just have to be cautious.”

“This is the best thing that has happened to us in the whole summer, really,” Tavares laughed. “Having a new little spot to play.”