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Dickinson Playground Is Open

Published: August 12, 2014

Kendra Bobowick

    The new FunSpace II, Dickinson Memorial Park Playground is now open, but with some sections that still need work.

    Anthony and Julian Bello chased through wooden ramps and tunnels, slipped down slides, and peered over the railing leading to the central turret Monday afternoon. Also out enjoying the warm August sunshine were young friends Julia Dimyan and Sara Ruddy who paused in their play on the newly opened and freshly turfed play space. Beyond the central structure, reminiscent of the original FunSpace’s wooden construction, were Tyler and Morgan Drap, swinging on a hammock-like round structure.

    The brand-new playground, within the town park at 50 Elm Drive, had been dedicated on July 26. The new playground, called FunSpace II, is a replacement for the former FunSpace, which was built in 1989. The former playground was razed last year due to age and deteriorating condition.

    Although the new playground was dedicated, the facility was not completely finished in late July, and although it is not 100 percent complete, residents enjoyed the playground this week.

    When a date for the formal dedication was announced in July, Parks & Rec Director Amy Mangold had indicated that the event would take place even if the playground was not completely finished. Supporters of the project, including New York resident Marc Pintel and family, “who were greatly devoted to helping Newtown,” Ms Mangold said, would be traveling to Newtown “to see how their donation [and those of others have] so wonderfully impacted the scope and success of this playground.”

    During the formal event on July 26, guests learned that the playground would be open for only a few hours that day. Children played under adult supervision. The event also offered live music and refreshments.

    Private donations and town Capital Improvement Plan funds made the new, nearly $800,000 project made possible.

    Ms Mangold had described the final project, spreading over roughly 1.5 acres, as having natural elements, climbing stones, built-in musical instruments, a zip line, and ADA accessibility, while retaining the familiar feel of the wooden play features with new play value and elements and a water area with sand.

    The new play area will offer “an environment that provides a great way to help restore our familiar feel of Dickinson FunSpace but reconnect children with nature and imaginative play,” she had said in past conversations about this project.