Story by Sara Paul
Susan McCosker has been a regular at the playground at the Pine Island (P.I.) Park for several years. While the P.I. resident, P.I. Chamber of Commerce Director and mother of two enjoys the open space and friendly faces, she became troubled when the weathered, dated, and insufficient equipment was left unchanged.
“The Park is really fun and loved by many, but the playground equipment was rapidly aging,” notes McCosker of the community centerpiece that is home to the P.I. Recreation Summer Program and hosts annual community events like the Easter Egg Hunt, Pumpkinfest, Music in the Park, and the Holiday Tree Lighting.
As there was not enough money in the Town budget, McCosker approached the Kosuga Foundation for support. Since the park lies on land that was donated by Vincent and Pauline Kosuga, the Foundation generously gave back to the community. The grand unveiling is slated for the beginning of July.
“It became just so important and even more about other kids than my own kids,” said McCosker, who worked with a newly formed P.I. Playground Committee on architectural sketches and ideas.
“I believed the park should have an agricultural theme to pay homage to the farming community that we rely on and take pride in,” she commented.
“With the help of Committee members Greg DeBuck, Jeanette Shanahan, Russ Kowal, and P.I. Recreation Directors Paulette Rudy and Nancy Scheinert, the playground will be something our community can be proud of,” she said.
While the park’s current pirate ship structure will remain, all other equipment has been replaced with all American-made pieces like a Sway Fun Glider, which is a giant seesaw that can fit two wheelchairs, and a giant onion with climbing nets and a slide. There will also be a minimum of three security cameras at the improved grounds.
With the new playground’s grand opening just around the corner, McCosker, reflects, “A park brings everybody together, and the kids are obviously our future and we want them to have a safe place to grow up. We are happy that the community has embraced this new playground and look forward to many days of play.”