31 December 2008

Medford group seeks funds for new play area

MEDFORD - Members of the township's Fort Medford Playground Committee are looking to raise $100,000 to fund a planned handicapped-accessible play area on Gravelly Hollow Road.

The Medford Township Council committed $175,000 to the project this year. Those funds will be used to buy and install the equipment. More funding is required to install guardrails, fencing and parking spaces for the disabled, said Eowyn West, a member of the playground committee.

The total cost would be $275,000, West said.

The Fort Medford playground, which is in Bob Meyer Park, was closed from February to October because the wooden play equipment didn't meet the state's standards for handicapped accessibility.

The original playground was built in 1995 by community volunteers. Instead of replacing the old wooden structures, the township's Recreation Department decided to have handicapped-accessible equipment installed adjacent to the existing equipment.

The new equipment is expected to be installed in the spring. It will include a rubberized surface made of recycled material that can accommodate wheelchairs and walkers.

"It's multi-generational," West said. "People think 'playground' and immediately think that it's just for kids, but this is going to be something that seniors and adults can enjoy as well. It's also double-wide, so two wheelchairs can pass each other, and people in walkers can use it. It's going to benefit everyone."

Story continues below Advertisement West, who has a 7-year-old daughter with cerebral palsy, said in October that the new playground will allow children with disabilities to play and socialize with other children on the same play equipment.

All public playgrounds in the state are required to comply with playground safety codes administered by the state Department of Community Affairs. Under the codes, playgrounds must be accessible to the handicapped. Those standards include wheelchair ramps to access slides and climbing bars.

The playground committee will install plaques on specific playground components recognizing donors who contribute at least $1,000. It's also selling paver stones, which will be engraved and placed around the playground. They'll cost $150.

"It's nice to go out and be able to read names because it really makes you feel like you're part of something." West said.

The committee has raised at least $6,000. Those interested in donating can visit medfordtownship.com, write to the playground committee at P.O. Box 1103, Medford, NJ 08055 or contact committee chairperson Kyle Koszowski at (856) 988-1552.

No comments:

Post a Comment