Creative Play: Cross County Shopping Center Playground
This year, we celebrated our first ‘for-profit’ client, the Cross County Shopping Center in Yonkers, New York. Cross County is one of the oldest outdoor shopping malls in the country. As shopping habits have shifted, Cross County has made changes to maintain its relevance to the community. There’s now a hotel and a community college campus integrated into the mall and a regular schedule of activities to bring people of all ages to the lively and diverse environment.
Heurista was engaged to help create a staged program of amenity improvements that will bring a park-like feel to the shopping mall. We were selected for our combination of creativity, project management skill, and expertise in sponsorship and recognition. Cross County acknowledges that they will need community partners to fund these new projects, ranging from seating that encourages a co-working style environment, a community art program, and renovations to existing hardscape that facilitate special events like concerts, fashion shows, and family activities.
The new playground was the first project completed. Replacing traditional animal and treehouse-themed fixtures, the new space is bright and abstract with a contemporary, cityscape feel that encourages creative, undirected play. The central feature of the play space is a multi-colored Luckey Climber, a climbable sculpture that challenges children to problem-solve, think spatially, and most of all, to be with other kids – a primary tenant of placemaking. In designing the space, Heurista created a custom, multicolored poured rubber floor, a mural featuring the word ‘climber’ in many languages, and included several charging stations for parents on the go with their kids.
Ed Manner served as project lead for the work at Cross County. He was supported by designers and project managers from both our New York and Asheville teams.