PHOENIXVILLE >> The Kiwanis Club of Phoenixville and the Phoenixville Jaycees are partnering with the Borough of Phoenixville to build an all-ability playground in Reeves Park.
Because the nearest such park is located in Downingtown, the Kiwanis believe this is a great need in our community. The goal of the new Reeves Park playground upgrade is to allow children of varying abilities, including physical disabilities and sensory challenges, to interact, play and learn together.
The Kiwanis Club has been working with the recreation board as well as the parks and recreation committee since April 2016 to develop a comprehensive plan that will be fun for children of all abilities. The project will be a great addition to Reeves Park, as well as a source of pride for the community.
Melissa Gibbons, director of the recreation department, has been an integral part of the committee as we work to meet all the specifications of previous playgrounds and borough streetscapes to fit into Phoenixville.
The committee has met with vendors to understand the advantages and challenges of a project of this scope. Based on their recommendation, the plan is to remove the existing swings and playground built in the 1990s. They have served the park well but would be extremely costly to include in the plans for the new playground, as they are not all-ability. In addition, because of their age, it is questionable how much longer they could be kept safe and in service. It is the hope of the organizers that the existing playground and swings will not be removed until the new playground is ready to be installed.
The new playground will be located where the current swingset is situated. A new swingset is incorporated into the new playground. The plan includes a rubberized safety base for wheelchair access, as well as a perimeter fence to ensure safety.
The project is planned to be completed in three phases.
The first phase will be the actual playground and poured safety base. The plan includes a play section for 2- to 5-year-olds and a section designed for older children. The equipment will be all-ability pieces. An example of one of the pieces can be seen in the accompanying artist’s rendering.
The second phase will be the installation of new restrooms. Two unisex, handicapped-accessible restrooms will replace the existing restrooms in the bandshell. Both will be entered from the Third Avenue side of the bandshell and will have time-activated locks allowing them to operate during park hours from April until October.
The final phase will be the installation of fencing, bike rack, trash receptacles and other landscaping features.
With a total budget of nearly $400,000, the Kiwanis Club and the Jaycees are implementing multiple avenues of fundraising, including grants, crowdfunding and other fundraising events to raise awareness of and community support for this much-needed project. Almost $40,000 has been raised to date, and many grants are in the works.
The next fundraising event will be a live/silent benefit auction and spaghetti dinner to be held March 10 at the Kimberton Fire Company’s Covered Bridge Room. The doors will open at 5 p.m., and the spaghetti dinner will be served from 5:30 to 7 p.m. The evening will feature silent auctions with electronic bidding using the Bidpay program. There will also be a basket raffle, 50/50 raffle and live auctions throughout the evening.
The Kiwanis Club wishes to express its gratitude to Franco LoPresti of Franco Ristorante, who is donating the entire dinner for this event.
Tickets cost $25 per person and are available by calling 610-935-1198. Tickets can also be purchased from Foresta’s Country Meat Market, 1098 W. Bridge St., Phoenixville, or Franco Ristorante, 226 Bridge St., Phoenixville. Tickets will be available at the door if the event is not sold out ahead of time. It is recommended that attendees plan to purchase their tickets in advance.
Anyone wishing to make a direct donation to the playground can do so by visiting the Crowdrise site at crowdrise.com/phoenixvillekiwanisauction2018.
More information about the playground, including additional renderings of the proposed equipment, can soon be found at phoenixvilleplayground.org.
For further information about the auction, contact John Keenan, auction chairman, at 610-246-5388.