A project I was involved in before I was even pregnant with my daughter was the Chestnut Street Playground project. The playground at Chestnut Street and Wile Avenue in the Souderton (Pennsylvania) Community was in desperate need of repair. The playground had been a gathering place for children and families but over time it had seen years of heavy use along with weather wear and tear.
The original community goal was to raise $65,000 before breaking ground in the Fall of 2012 and the project really looked like it was never going to happen – not enough money raised, permits – but I am excited to say the Playground was pushed forward and recently completed and we had a chance to visit it last week.
A federal Community Development Block Grant administered through Montgomery County provided $195,000 for the work and the grassroots fundraising efforts by the committee and the neighboring Souderton Mennonite Church brought in another $80,000.
I spent many volunteers hours as part of the committee to see this playground come to fruition. There were many long meetings, fundraisers (including a huge block party,) and even some great connections and friendships that came out of this project. The committee worked hard and I congratulate those that initiated this project – Jen, Tara, Pastor Clemmer – and all of those in the community that worked to put together the fundraising events and to those that donated towards this project; including my friends Mary, Ray, Diana, Julia, Mary, and my Mom who chipped in as well.
One of the wonderful things about this playground is that it is specifically built with those with special needs in mind.
It is handicap accessible including 5 ft. wide black-top pathways for wheelchair and walker accessibility and the playground set also has very wide pathways and ramps for a wheelchair and walker. The equipment is very safe and underneath includes pour and play matting.
There is also learning integration including a music maker with drums, rattles, wheels and more encourage learning and intellectual growth. The play-set includes brail for the blind and it also has a wonderful piece for autistic children to participate in the fun!
There is a Phase two scheduled for the project when more funds are met which includes adaptive swing seats with belts, water fountains, and a restroom.
When we visited last week in the morning we spent almost an hour there which is great for a 15 month old. During that time we saw 7 families come use the Playground, and their comments were all positive and how much their kids loved the new playgrounds. You could see on their faces that they were having a wonderful time. We also went back to the Playground the evening after and there was also many families and kids enjoying their summer evening there.
I would highly recommend the new Playground! The equipment is so new and fun and is great for a wide range of kids ages and abilities.
Here are some photos of the new Chestnut Street Playground, if you are local and have children, or grandchildren come spend some time at the Playground. It is a great Playground for kids to run free and plenty of benches for the parents to relax while their kids are enjoying the games, slides, and activities!