Posted on January 1, 2015
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Twenty-five years ago, parents, businesses and community members throughout the Downingtown area came together to build an extraordinary playground on land adjacent to East Ward Elementary School. For many years, children from Downingtown and beyond have all enjoyed the benefits of playing on the Castle Playground. Perhaps you remember a time in your childhood when you raced across the bridges, hid in the turrets or slid down those wide slides on a bright, summer day.
When the playground was erected in 1991, it was state of the art. However, even then we knew that a wooden playground couldn’t last forever. Today, 25 years later, safety regulations, age and deterioration have taken its toll on our castle. Sadly, we are writing today what we’ll call a bittersweet letter. The sentinel entrance into the Downingtown community, the castle playground at East Ward, must be taken down for safety reasons at the end of this school year. Shortly after the last day of school, the structure will be dismantled.
We do want you to know that in its place, we hope to create a new community playground to be used by your children and children of generations to come. The East Ward Playground Committee is striving to deliver a modern, innovative playground experience like none other in the area. The new playground will meet all updated safety requirements, will serve students of all abilities and will be open for use by all our community members.
The new playground will include contemporary structures suitable for all ability levels. A cornerstone of the playground will be a large, dome-shaped climbing structure jam-packed with ropes, ladders and nets – creating limitless opportunities for kids of all ages to climb, balance, rock and sway. Another signature piece in the playground will include interactive lighted features that will bring together the technology kids love, with the physical activity they need to maintain healthy active lives. It is our hope that this new ‘cool’ playground will replace the one that has been loved by so many children for so many years.
But we need your help just like we did 25 years ago.
The East Ward Community Playground Committee envisions a new community playground that will create lasting memories for our children and grandchildren – just like the beloved castle one did for us. East Ward parent fundraisers have garnered about a quarter of the $200,000 cost. The School Board is contributing $20,000 toward the project (the same amount the district has spent on each of the other 10 elementary playgrounds supporting our schools). But in order to build the large community playground that we created 25 years ago, we are reaching out to all families in the district.
Throughout this site and on our Facebook page you can keep up with what the committee is doing and the steps we’re taking to rally the community, raise funds, and ultimately create a new, state of the art playground.
On behalf of the children of East Ward and the district, we want to thank you for taking the time to consider this request.