WOODLAND PARK, NJ - Two new playgrounds are open for play for the students of Charles Olbon Elementary School, as well as the public outside of school hours.

On Oct. 3, students began to utilize the play equipment, according to Woodland Park School District Superintendent Dr. Michele Pillari. There will be a ribbon cutting later this month. Woodland Park Mayor Keith Kazmark at the Oct. 4 Borough Council meeting announced that it would be dedicated to Ron Pascrell, a school board member who passed away on Sept. 24.

The playground is open to the public after school hours. Dr. Pillari noted that the aftercare program at the school has first priority when utilizing the playground and school grounds. Therefore, if aftercare is there, anyone from the public should not be there until the program is off of school grounds.

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The Borough Council had been approached last year by the Board of Education and the Woodland Park Special Needs Advisory Committee (WP SNAC) with the idea to install two playgrounds, one for special needs children and the other with general play equipment.

The borough's Open Space Committee and Borough Council unanimously approved $140,000 from the local open space trust fund to complete the project.

The equipment is furnished with Play World pieces and installation was done by George Ely Associates. One playground is designed for 2 to 5 year olds, measuring 1,650 square feet, and the other for 5 to 12 year olds, and measuring 2,069 square feet.

There are a number of sensory play panels, as well as a piece called "Balance Trax" which improve balance skills by allowing children to walk along uneven platforms using handrails to encourage safe risk taking. 

"This was a true collaboration between the Board of Education and the Borough which results in new opportunities both during the school day for our kids at Charles Olbon School and beyond for those who live in the neighborhood," Kazmark said at a prior council meeting.