AP NEWS

Monroe playground project seeks volunteers

March 18, 2019

MONROE — Those behind a project to refurbish a local park need a few good volunteers.

The Monroe Playground Foundation — which is spearheading an effort to take down the Kids Kreation playground at Wolfe Park and replace it with a new, improved structure — is sponsoring a meeting to find volunteers 7 p.m. March 25 in the town hall annex, 7 Fan Hill Road. The foundation is looking for people to get involved at many levels of the project, including a series of fundraisers that will take place between now and next spring, when the playground initiative is scheduled to start.

“Our main goal is to find chairs and committee members to help plan our slate of activities for the year,” said Nina Gagnon, fundraising chair for the Monroe Playground Foundation.

That will include the Party in the Park, which will take place in June, as well as several other events. Gagnon said the foundation is also looking for people to staff booths providing information about the playground project at upcoming community events, such as the Monroe Farmers’ Market.

The original Kids Kreation playscape was built in 1992. It was completely funded by community fundraising and built by community members. When it was determined that the popular playground, while still safe to play on, was showing signs of wear, concerned citizens formed the Monroe Playground Foundation.

The group plans to get rid of the existing structure, with the exception of a wooden pirate ship near the rear of the playground, dubbed the S.S. Pulliam, in honor of Alice Pulliam, who helped spearhead the original Kids Kreation. The plan is to move the ship to a place of honor near the entrance of the new playground.

The playground will be replaced with a structure made from a manufactured wood that has a lifespan of 50 to 60 years. The new playground will include a lot of the elements of the current one, including slides, swings and the like. However, there will be an increased emphasis on accessibility, with the planned addition of such inclusive features as a wheelchair-accessible merry-go-round.

As with the exisiting playground, the rebuild would be paid for via fundraising and the new structure would be made by community volunteers. The project is estimated to cost between $350,000 and $400,000.

Gagnon said the March 25 event is an attempt to get as many people as possible involved with the project. “Every kid in town is going to be using this playground for, hopefully, the next 20 years or more,” she said. “This is a way to bring the community together.”

Those who can’t make the meeting but still want to volunteer can visit the Monroe Playground Foundation web site, www.monroeplaygroundfoundation.org.