MONTVILLE, NJ – It took a bit longer than the anticipated two months, but the Community Park playground renovation is finished and it opened April 27 with a celebration and ribbon-cutting by Mayor Richard Conklin and Recreation Director Lori Dent.
The playground was completely renovated with new surfaces and equipment due to the old equipment not meeting play-OSHA’s (PLOSHA) requirements, according to Township Administrator Victor Canning. While the equipment had been maintained and regularly checked for safety, it was time for a change. The township had been setting aside funds for the renovation, which cost $653,958, for seven years, Canning said.
Research was conducted at Montville Day in 2017 to find out what users wanted, and were incorporated into a Montville farm theme, Dent said.
“There are a lot of activities and everyone will have somewhere to go and do something,” she said. “Special needs children and all young children, can slide down the slides with an adult. Toddler swings were installed, as well as some picnic tables, near the silo slides, so that parents with very young kids can keep an eye on their youngest, while their older children can play on the silo slides.”
Demolition began in August of 2018 and finished up recently, delayed due to inclement weather. The benches and pavilion were left intact, and additional seating was installed throughout the playground. No wood has been used for the structures as with the old versions; they are all metal and resin.
“It’s days like this that it’s an honor to be the mayor of Montville Township,” Conklin said at the opening ceremony. “The purchase of this land – the Sisco Farm tract – was insightful because this is the heart of Montville. This playground has been a long time in the making. Thanks to Lori, the recreation commissioners, the DPW, and everyone who worked so hard to bring this project to fruition.”
“We didn’t take this project lightly, knowing that families would come to build memories and enjoy the playground for years to come,” Dent said at the ceremony. “There are many to thank in the two-year-long project from the initial survey to its completion a day ago.”
Dent also thanked the recreation commissioners as well as the Montville Kiwanis for raising money for the original playground and donating two benches and a picnic table for the new playground. She thanked them for their support of recreation programs.
With that, the ribbon was cut and the play began. The Pathways D.J.s mixed songs, the R.E.A.C.H. volunteers offered tattoos, and the screams of happy kids at play could be heard throughout the park.
But the measure of any good playground is, of course, taken straight from its users.
Five-year-old Alexander Ryzuk said the yellow slide at the Montville farms structure is the best because it’s “super fast!” Mom Emily said he had already slid down it “a million times.”
Four-year-old Jonathan Pitz just couldn’t make up his mind. When asked about his favorite part of the new playground, he enthused, “All of ‘em!!”
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