Dreams Do Come True

DebSF -- April 30th, 2010

princess in pink makes musicLong in the planning, Harrisonburg’s newest park opened today to warm weather, bright sunshine, and happy crowds of parents and kids of all ages. The playground is located on the East side of Neff Avenue just south of Sunchase Apartments.  The playground is designed for children with and without disabilities to be able to play together, to have fun, and to just be kids.  Traditional and familiar playground equipment has been combined with specialized installations so that all children can have fun together.  Click to enlarge each picture.The park design is by LPDA Associates.  The colorized areas in the linked design show the plantings which Fine Earth has donated to the park in preparation for its official opening today, Friday, April 30th, 2010.  According to the Fine Earth Website, the donated planted areas were chosen by Fine Earth Landscape Designer Jesse Bergey, in consultation with Lee Foerster and David Wigginton of Harrisonburg Parks and Recreation.

the circle beckons

According to the Dreams Come True website , the idea for the project began in February of 2001 with a group of high school Girl Scouts from Troop 506.  The girls began researching the possibility of a playground that could be accessible and inclusive to all kids as a way to earn one of the highest distinctions available to a Scout Troop, the Gold Award.  As the project matured and the city became involved, the location moved twice, many dollars were raised, volunteers became committed and spent hours on the project.  The young girls are now adults, but are still committed to the project.  The playground is both inclusive and accessible,  and is an important step forward in the effort to create communities that are truly open to all.  It is not a playground for children with disabilities.  It’s a playground for all children, including those with disabilities.  As they write:

The City of Harrisonburg has graciously donated the land, paid for the excavation of the park, public utilities, will construct the inclusive accessible restroom facility and picnic shelter, parking lot and entrance road. The City has taken on the entire cost of the new park and all costs associated with opening and maintaining a new park in the Department of Parks and Recreation.  We say thank you over and over to The City of Harrisonburg, The City Council, and The Department of Parks and Recreation for believing in our dream and helping it become reality for the children.

And today, nearly 10 years of hard work has become a reality.

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4 Responses to “Dreams Do Come True”

  1. Thanh says:

    Thanks Deb for this story. It truly is a remarkable story and project; illustrates community collaboration and success.

    I was at the Arbor Day and Opening ceremony this morning. There were gosh, over a hundred kids there (I’m terrible at guessing number of attendees at a place). The kids got to pot Douglas Firs that were given to them to take home and plant as part of Arbor Day, they got some treats to eat, and finally were let loose to play on the playground.

    The playground and surrounding park area and tree/shrub plantings ares beautiful, really interesting, and fun.

  2. Renee says:

    What a great effort and an interesting playground design! Good job to all involved!

  3. Emmy says:

    My brother who is in a wheelchair was at the opening today. My step-mother said it is a very impressive playground and that she’s looking forward to taking him there often. My kids are excited about the prospect of being able to go somewhere where they can play with their uncle. Thanks to all of those who made this dream a reality.

  4. Dany Fleming says:

    Went to the opening with my 2 kids today and it’s a beautiful playground. What an absolutely fantastic job done by all those involved – another big feather in the cap for our great Parks and Rec.

    That was the most most fun my kids have had at a playground here and they can’t wait to go back. According to the photographer for the playground company, this is the largest one they’ve built in the country.

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