Pumping New Life into Maple Street Park
New Playground Equipment is a Hit with Local Kids;Dedication Ceremony Being Planned for Oct. 15
Pottstown, Pa. (Sept. 12, 2005) – Maple Street Park is alive again.
Thelma Vandegrift enjoys bringing her grandchildren, Jackson Chappie, 3, and Javon Greenawalt, 8, to the park, located on Maple Street just east of Moser Road in Pottstown. So does Yuma Paez, whose 4-year-old son, Manuel Alejandro Paez, can’t get enough of the park. (Her 15-month-old daughter, Jasmine Paez, is still learning her way around.) Kurt Willman, 2½, is a bundle of energy who likes to try everything at the park, according to his mother, Lil.
These and other Pottstown children, their parents and grandparents have been flocking to the park in recent weeks. So what’s the big attraction?
Well, Maple Street Park recently received new playground equipment, benches and picnic tables to complement a nearby baseball field and tennis courts. The brightly colored equipment features a central play area with three sliding boards, a tic-tac-toe game, musical chimes and a handle jungle gym as well as a sand-and-water play area and a swing set with four swings, two for physically handicapped children. An abundant supply of wood chips surrounds the equipment, providing a soft surface to land on.
“The old playground was boring, but this is fun,” said Javon Greenawalt, sporting a big smile, a bright orange T-shirt and a green-and-black Philadelphia Eagles cap.
The old playground equipment dated back to 1976, according to John Reber, director of the Pottstown Parks and Recreation Department. It was long overdue for replacement, and the department wanted to make sure the new equipment met guidelines established by the American Disabilities Act, which became law in the early 1990s.
“The playground is open to all kids,” Reber explains, “but in designing the new playground, our focus was on the wheelchair-bound, the blind and the deaf.”
Maple Street Park is one of 15 parks in the borough of Pottstown. The others are Memorial, River Front, South Street, Cherry Street, Old Chestnut Street, New Chestnut Street, Potts Drive, Ricketts Community Center, Walnut Street, Pollock, Spruce Street, West Street, Brookside and Terrace Lane.
The Maple Street Park project cost about $60,000, including equipment and labor. Most of the project was financed through a grant from the Pottstown Area Health & Wellness Foundation, which promotes healthy living in the greater Pottstown area. The Foundation contributed $42,174 – about 70 percent of the project’s cost, Reber says.
“Maple Street Park gives us a good start in terms of replacing one set of playground equipment every year for 15 years,” Reber adds. “The Foundation’s grant was certainly critical to this project, because we (Parks and Rec) operate on a shoestring budget. We couldn’t have done the replacement work at Maple Street Park without the Foundation’s support.”
While area children enjoy the new playground equipment, Reber is busy planning a dedication ceremony at Maple Street Park. The event will take place Saturday, Oct. 15, from noon to 3:30 p.m. It will feature a ribbon-cutting ceremony, food and beverages, a clown, and games and activities for the kids. The rain date is Sunday, Oct. 16, at the same time.
For more information about the dedication ceremony, Maple Street Park and the Parks and Rec Department’s programs and activities, call 610-970-6607 or visit the department’s web site at www.pottstownschools.com/parksrec. For more information about the Pottstown Area Health & Wellness Foundation, call 610-323-2006 or visit www.pottstownfoundation.org.