Story by Lon Tytell
About 300 citizens from the Town of Warwick gathered at Warwick Middle School on Fri., Apr. 7 to learn about the design for the new playground at Stanley-Deming Park, a project under the leadership of the volunteer organization, Warwick Playground Dreams. Play By Design, the playground designers and building consultants, were on hand to reveal the design for the playground, which is scheduled to be built in the spring of 2018 in just six days, requiring about 200 community volunteers.
Attendees saw designs submitted by local students and learned about volunteer and sponsorship opportunities. Engraved bricks, pickets, and Warwick Playground Dreams t-shirts were available for purchase and food vendors including Noble Pies, Life is Sweet Cupcakery, Down to Earth Organic Foods, and Dairy Swirl donated 100 percent of their proceeds to Warwick Playground Dreams. The Warwick Meistersingers, under the direction of Noreen Hansen, welcomed everyone in attendance with musical selections.
Hannelore Chambers, the president of Warwick Playground Dreams said, “It has been an invigorating experience to work with 20 other parent volunteers from all across the Town of Warwick. They are a group of incredibly dedicated, talented, and hard-working individuals who, between balancing the needs of their families and careers, have somehow found the time and energy to develop this project for the good of our children and our town. It is very inspiring to think of what could be accomplished if all the member of the community came together on projects like this.”
Warwick Village Mayor Michael Newhard spoke saying, “The Village is excited about participating with Warwick Playground Dreams. The two day design intensive was a remarkable experience for all, especially the children who were given the opportunity to imagine the playground of their dreams. Warwick’s greatness is our capacity to make dream reality. With the help of Play By Design and Warwick Playground Dreams we will see a playground that is inclusive, meaningful and most of all fun!”
Lisa DeShano, designer for Play By Design followed Mayor Newhard with a presentation that explained the process and the preparations that a community needs to follow to comply with the regulations for a safe and secure playground. Laura Sehn, a designer with Play By Design, who drew the Design Day Schematic, then unveiled the new playground design for the park. The preliminary plan includes: splash pad, Zip line (with ADA bucket seat), wheelchair-accessible merry-go-round, dish swing, climbing wall, ADA-accessible swings, etc.
Warwick Playground Dreams started as a group of parents from the Town of Warwick who wanted to rejuvenate the aging playground in Stanley-Deming Park. Thanks to the support of their fiscal sponsor, the Community Foundation of Orange and Sullivan, the parents organized the non-profit organization into subcommittees which focused on specific aspects of the project. Working together with the Village of Warwick, the Town’s schools, and Play By Design, the plan of bringing a community-designed, community-built ADA-accessible playground to Warwick has become possible. Representatives from Warwick Playground Dreams and Play By Design visited and spoke to the children in the town’s three school districts, Warwick, Greenwood Lake, and Florida, as well as St. Stephens School. The ideas from over 1,300 submissions, which included drawings, intricate 3-D models and persuasive essays, which can be viewed at www.WarwickPlaygroundDreams.org, were helpful for the final design.
Kerri Fenton Foley, the public relations co-chair of Warwick Playground Dreams best summed up the process saying, “We were pleased to see such a great amount of community support and enthusiasm at Design Day and were inspired by all the imaginative ideas our own children had for their future playground. All of this together shows how truly wonderful our town is and the reason we knew this playground project will be a success.”
For the latest update on the playground project, visit WarwickPlaygroundDreams.org.