The public is invited to enjoy live music and refreshments on Saturday when the Parks & Recreation Department staff and supporters lead a grand opening celebration for the new Dickinson Memorial Playground (FunSpace II). The celebration will take place at 11 am at Dickinson Park, on Elm Drive.
“We are very excited to be moving forward with our playground celebration,” Parks and Recreation Director Amy Mangold said recently. The day will be a celebration of a “creative and fun” play area that has “come to its full fruition due to hundreds of donations” following 12/14.
Ben Rudnick and Friends will play from 11:30 am to 1 pm. Newtown Deli & Catering will provide refreshments.
Past renditions of the interactive, natural, and educational play area designed by resident and landscape architect Billie Cohen would have been completed in phases as money became available to the recreation department, but private donations from groups and individuals have made the project’s full scope possible.
The old playground officially closed on October 7 and demolition followed that month. The new playground is nearly complete.
Ms Mangold commended Ms Cohen, contractor Al Corsetti, vice president of Pat Corsetti Inc, along with Parks & Rec staff for their “fantastic job at working together” to keep the project on track.
With a tight time frame that depended in part on the weather, Ms Mangold is pleased to see the playground is almost ready to open.
The celebration will take place on Saturday, even if the playground is not ready to open. Supporters, including New York resident Marc Pintel and family, “who were greatly devoted to helping Newtown,” will be coming to Newtown that morning “to see how their [along with others] generous donation has so wonderfully impacted the scope and success of this playground,” according to Ms Mangold.
The day will still be a “wonderful community celebration with some special speeches, music, refreshments, and lots of excitement,” she said.
The first FunSpace playground, built in 1989, was partially razed when a handful of officials and supporters held a groundbreaking ceremony for the new playground. That day they welcomed the start of the new, nearly $800,000 project, made possible through private donations and town Capital Improvement Plan funds.
At that time, 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.”