If New Albany sixth-grader Carson Baker had his way, the city's revamp of Rose Run Park would include a specific addition: A "cargo-line treehouse" that is part cargo net, part zip line, part treehouse.
That obstacle is his favorite, said Carson, 12.
"It really stands out," he said.
Baker was one of 19 New Albany sixth-graders who delivered a presentation March 19 to New Albany City Council members proposing play elements to be added to Rose Run Park.
Rose Run Park is part of the Rose Run stream corridor that runs mostly parallel to Dublin-Granville Road through New Albany, and it previously had been accessible only by leisure trails.
The city's revitalization efforts for the area include construction of a 34-foot bridge and promenade that would connect the New Albany Plain-Local School District campus on the north side of Dublin-Granville to the New Albany branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library and Market Square to the south.
The leisure trail near Rose Run will be rerouted underneath the bridge, and stepping stones will lead down to the creek. City crews will remove invasive species growing around the creek to create an area with a high tree canopy.
A natural play area, which could include logs, boulders and acrylic mirrors, will be added to Rose Run Park.
New Albany Mayor Sloan Spalding said he wants to talk with council members about what could be done to bring one of the students' suggestions to fruition.
The main factors, he said, would be costs and timing -- whether the addition would be made during the current construction process or after the project is finished.
City officials expect the Rose Run Park project to be completed by late 2019, said New Albany spokesman Scott McAfee.
For Carson, the presentation was a way to show children are just as capable as adults in creating change.
In addition to the "cargo-line treehouse," the students proposed a cargo net, a treehouse, stream crossings, a zip line and a tire swing as possible options for play elements in Rose Run Park.
The work was a result of a project the students completed using scientific tools, such as data collection and 3D digital design.
Students learned about the Rose Run Park project when Adrienne Joly, New Albany's director of administrative services, visited classes multiple times to talk about the improvements, said Sandy Reed, the district's Easton E3 Learning Lab coordinator and a teacher at New Albany Intermediate School.
Students also attended the project's groundbreaking ceremony and decided they wanted to do a project themselves that would matter for their community, Reed said.
"Their heart was into this, big time," she said.
They began working on their project at the beginning of the school year, working two to three times a week, Reed said.
The students created a survey promoted through a link, napls.us/roserunsurvey, to intermediate school families and students and community members, Reed said. The survey was answered by 144 community members.
Part of the survey included asking participants if they would like specific obstacles, such as a treehouse, log crossing, log bench and cargo net.
Reed said the students also have been working with her to practice using science to answer open-ended research questions.
They used Tinkercad, a program for 3D design, to include examples of what some of the play elements would look like.
The project was student-motivated, Reed said, and it was important because of the sense of ownership, pride and passion derived from this type of learning.
"You can't replicate that," she said.
Rio Hall, 11, said using Tinkercad was a primary part of designing the play elements in the presentation. The project, she said, helped her learn more about collaborating with others and teamwork.
"It was really a great experience and super fun," she said.