Columnist orders parks on aesthetic, utility and nostalgia
By Sammy Bonasso, ’20, Layout by Katie Zhao, ’19
1. MILLER PARK During my childhood, Miller was the only park that deserved the word overused by so many review writers: essential. I still remember spelunking the “tunnel of death,” emulating Superman in the tire swing and climbing up the coniferous trees’ branches like spiral staircases. Yes, nostalgia heavily influences Miller Park’s placement. Regardless, none can deny how many novel features Miller possesses: two playgrounds, a large, traversable forest with two bridges, a gazebo next to an open field, a cozy library, and so much more.
2. THOMPSON PARK Large expanses of grass are balanced perfectly with woods and native wildflowers in UA’s largest park. Thompson also boasts a hidden swamp habitat conservation area for those who like a bit of zen or frogs in their lives. This park appeals to everyone, from Pokémon Go players to nature photographers, sunny picnic lovers to joggers. Even in the cold Ohio winters I value this park. It’s hands down the best place for sledding in Upper Arlington.
3. SMITH PARK Out of all the parks in this list, only Smith boasts the qualifier of “nature,” and it describes the park perfectly. Smith replaces the typical playground with abundant plant growth and a small, dirty bridge located above a stream, making it the greenest park in the community. This growth enables students to relax in the shade or play games they haven’t touched since elementary school.
4. OXFORD PARK Oxford is isolated and small, but it contains a playground and more forestation. Moreover, the surrounding area is some of the most beautiful in this town. Traveling from the park up Edgehill Road to Fairfax Drive reveals behemoth shade-providing trees, shorter, overgrown forestation reminiscent of a jungle and aesthetically pleasing modernist houses. This description likely induces cringing in readers cynical of the visual appeal of UA, but I encourage all to visit this area themselves.
5. SUNNY 95 PARK Its hills, barn and man-made pond make Sunny 95 the prettiest park in town. The park boasts a unique ropeclimbing dome playground and two sports courts. However, it offers little exploration outside of duckwatching for park goers who don’t want to exercise.
6. CRAFTON PARK It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog… or something like that. Ranking this obscure park so highly is the most subjective choice on this list. Crafton’s seclusion and size make its visitors believe they’re one of the few that know it. Furthermore, its beautiful trees, single bench and occasional wandering deer add to its cozy aesthetic.
7. NORTHAM PARK UA revolves around Northam. It boasts the 4th of July celebration, the main library, sports practice fields and “legacy projects” celebrating the centennial. However, its overuse and relative lack of unique characteristics cause it to land 7th.
8. FANCYBURG PARK Fancyburg’s playground exceeds most others in the community in terms of size, height and the “games” one can dream up. It also offers a well-kept walking path and field, but it reminds me of a watered-down Thompson. The vending machines and unkempt look of the forested area don’t help its aesthetic either.
9. BURBANK PARK Burbank lacks elements to distract from its emptiness, something a larger playground would help with. However, it contains a forest, walking path and is larger than Triangle Park, improving its ranking.
10. TRIANGLE PARK All other minimalist parks on this list have redeeming qualities like secluded areas or interesting houses nearby. Such is not the case with this barren park, formed by the intersection of three roads in south UA. As a child, Triangle Park was always “that one park that looked like Westover but wasn’t.”