Lions’ Den Playground Coming to Washingtonville!
By Eugenia Moskowitz
A new fully-inclusive playground called The Lions’ Den will soon be coming to Washingtonville’s Memorial Park, with groundbreaking likely in September of 2019, vice president of the Washingtonville Lions Club and playground project manager Celina Rofer said.
In an impressive presentation to the Washingtonville village board on May 7, including visuals and details about the playground, she showed both the board and the audience what the Lions Club has designed with input from local mothers of special-needs children as well as various area mothers’ groups. The Lions’ Den will keep four of the five existing structures already in place at the location, adding to and expanding upon what the community has already created by using the same playground company that installed the current playground. “Using the same company means the pre-existing pieces can also be easily shifted around,” she said. “The new pieces are fabulous, fully usable and enjoyable for every child whether they have special needs or not.”
The new playground will be for ages 2-12 and includes adaptive equipment. “Nothing will be exclusive to anyone,” Rofer said. “And the Memorial Park area is a perfect spot as it is accessible by foot, bike, and car.”
Funding will proceed by partnering with the non-profit Community Foundation of Orange and Sullivan Counties to receive state grants and corporate sponsorship. Grants will also be applied for through Assemblyman Skoufis’ office. Personalized pavers will be available for the public. A large part of the fundraising is also happening through the Lions Club ongoing recycling project for which local fitness centers, Washingtonville Little League, Washingtonville Soccer Club, and the Round Hill and Taft Elementary Schools have been collecting 5-cent deposit bottles. “One million bottles and cans equals $50,000,” Rofer said. “And I’ve got my eye on that one million mark. In 2016, $102 million dollars went unredeemed in New York State for 5-cent containers. We’re asking people to please save their deposit cans and bottles and call us, we will pick them up from your house.” Whether the playground will be fenced in or not will depend on funding, she added.
Plans for this playground have been in the making for over a year. This playground is not connected to the committee working on the Vern Allen Park project, which involves a different grant from Skoufis’ office, and it is also separate from the joint village and Placemaking Sewell Community Park project at Washingtonville Green, the area under construction across from the middle school.
Both the board and the public were impressed by the presentation given by Rofer, and the board unanimously voted to approve the resolution to allow the Lions’ Den playground to proceed.
As the fundraising now officially begins, the public is welcome to contact Celina Rofer for personalized pavers, recycling offerings, or to get involved with this or other Washingtonville Lions Club projects, by emailing her at email@example.com or calling — or preferably texting — her at 845-492-1715. The Washingtonville Lions Club has been around for the past 10 years and actively welcomes new members, Rofer said.
To see a video of the Lions Den presentation, please go to the village hall website at http://www.washingtonville-ny.gov and click on the village’s YouTube channel.
CAPTION: A rendering of the Lions’ Den, a fully inclusive playground to be located at the 9/11 Memorial Park (also known as Firemen’s Memorial Park) on Ahern Blvd. by Washington Blvd. in the village of Washingtonville. Construction is expected to start in September of 2019. (Image courtesy of Washingtonville Lions Club)