One of the most saddening things you can come across is a playground that has fallen into complete disrepair. Knowing that the site can no longer perform its essential function of bringing joy to children and adults alike is fundamentally upsetting — playgrounds are for playing, so seeing one that can’t support play anymore makes your heart ache and compels you to help get it back in shape.
That is exactly what happened to one of Portland’s 132 playgrounds. A recent article posted on the Portland Patch’s website showed the state of James John Elementary School’s playground.
With “three old-fashioned structures [floating] aimlessly in a vast sea of wet wood chips, dirt and debris”, the grounds are as unsafe as they are un-fun. Fortunately, this story has hope! The locals, led by the schools’ parent-teacher association, have started a GoFundMe to save the spot and bring it back to its former glory. They’ve already raised over $12,000 of their $20,000 goal, showing a promising start to the renovation. But just what does overhauling this playful property entail, and what might you need to do if you decide to start a project of your own?
First and foremost, and maybe most importantly, you’re going to need to find the right ground material. Cedar chips are a popular choice due to their ability to provide cushioning should a child fall from one of the adventure-encouraging structures. You’d want to lay down at least 12 inches worth of cedar chips to ensure safety measures are met — after all, playgrounds are meant to be fun, not dangerous. Additionally, cedar chips are a cheaper investment than some other ground covers — and they look and smell great! Best of all, whether you’re on a PTA committee or are working for the town, you don’t need to tackle these landscaping issues by yourself. Hiring a bark blower to manage the distribution of cedar playground chips is the best and easiest way to get your work done, and to ensure it’s done right.
With that base of the playground firmly established, you can begin to choose the actual equipment. From monkey bars, to geometric climbing structures, to those chairs that spin and spin and spin, you’ll have as much fun designing the playground as kids will running around on it. Before you know it, you’ll have a place your entire town can enjoy. So, don’t sit by and watch your neighborhood playground fall into ruins. Do everything that you can to raise money and get started; before long, you’ll be reaping the benefits as all your neighbors and their smiling children take a trip to the playground you helped rebuild.