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Waldron, Hill and Buskirk Park Playground

The playground and swingset at The Waldron, Hill and Buskirk Park were removed in February 2021 to accommodate the City of Bloomington Utilities Department's Hidden River Pathway Project. 

The former playground at The Waldron, Hill and Buskirk Park was installed in 2011 with assistance from KaBOOM!, a non-profit that helps communities build playgrounds for children. Volunteers from IU Health and The Project School joined Bloomington Parks and Recreation staff in building the KaBOOM! playground.

  • In May 2021, Bloomington Parks and Recreation began collecting input from playground users and other stakeholders for the design and elements to be included in the new playground. Students at The Project School, and participants in the Boys & Girls Clubs of Bloomington and Kid City Summer Camps, were invited to participate, and members of the public were also asked for their input through the Department's social media channels and website. More than 80 playground enthusiasts offered their feedback.
  • Mader Design was contracted to create a site plan, which was completed in September 2021. The site plan was included in a Request for Proposals from playground equipment manufacturers, who had a deadline of October 1 to submit their proposed designs for consideration. The Department received seven different proposals with a total of 10 designs.
  • The design for the new playground was approved by the Board of Park Commissioners at their November 16, 2021 regular meeting. Click here to see an artist's rendering of the new playground equipment and design.
  • Playground installation, and the associated concrete work, is scheduled to begin in 2022.

Total cost of the new playground is $244,993. The City of Bloomington Utilities Department is paying $151,410 toward the new playground; a Parks General Obligation Bond is covering the remainder of the cost of the playground equipment, installation, and poured-in-place rubber surfacing.


Waldron, Hill and Buskirk Park

Accessibility: Designated parking spaces available behind the stage, paved sidewalk runs through the park by the fountain

Parking Areas: 17 Spaces behind the bandstand (three designated handicapped), street parking

Play Fields: large open green space

Also: Fountain in the center of the park, bandstand with canopy, picnic tables.

History of The Waldron, Hill and Buskirk Park

In May 1922, a committee was appointed by the Park Board to investigate the possibility of obtaining the land on East Third Street belonging to the Hill-Buskirk-Waldron estates for a city park. Mr. Charles Waldron wrote from Washington that he and his mother would be willing to turn over their part of the land to the city, providing the city would assume the indebtedness (about $5,000) and give the park a name honoring the three families. The Park Board agreed to buy the property in July 1922. Although the deed stipulated that the park should be named "The Waldron, Hill and Buskirk Park", the park was known as Third Street Park by the Bloomington community from the 1920s through the 2000s. On April 10, 2011, the park was officially "renamed" The Waldron, Hill and Buskirk Park in a celebratory ceremony.

The Allison-Jukebox Community Center, then known as the "Juke Box Teen Center," was built in 1938. Mr. William Adams and Mrs. B.F. Adams gave the Park Board $10,000 to build a swimming pool in the park in 1927. About $15,000 in additional bond funds were acquired, and the pool was constructed in 1928. The "Third Street Pool" was permanently closed in 1967.

An outdoor bandstand was built in 1938, and was demolished at the same time as the Third Street Pool, in 1967. A new band shell was built in the park in 1992, and an arched canopy was installed over the stage in 2002. A historic fountain from Rose Hill Cemetery was renovated and installed in the park in 1997. 

The Bloomington Parks and Recreation Department partnered with The Project School, IU Health Bloomington Hospital, and KaBOOM! to build a new playground with the help of more than 300 volunteers on May 20, 2011.