GALENA — Harlem Township is seeking playground additions for its community park along state Route 605.
The public-private partnership began its work in 2019, when the Harlem Community Playground Committee and volunteers assembled and installed a swing set and multi-purpose play center that July. Those efforts led to an immediate increase of children playing in the park.
“The initiative was started by a generous donation and matched by private contributions plus funding authorized by the township trustees,” said a recent email from the committee.
But that was just phase one.
“In order to allow for more children to safely play, increase access for those with developmental disabilities, and offer an experience full of exploration, exercise, imagination, creativity, and learning, we would like to complete the new playground this summer with a second phase of construction with the installation of three play stations: a climbing challenge station, a spinner, and saucer swing designed to include those with developmental disabilities,” said the committee.
A little more detail on the equipment sought for installation this summer:
• Cloud Nine is an accessible swing made for more than one person. It allows a child with special needs to enjoy the sensation of being on a swing while with a caregiver or another child.
• IKO-Large is a geometric object with climbing bars and rungs called an icosahedron. “It’s pricey but very popular with a wide range of ages and abilities,” said a description from the playground group.
• A potential third play piece is the Volta Inclusive Spinner, a plastic version of the ride that made you dizzy after a few revolutions.
On March 22, a Facebook page was created — Harlem Community Playground, Harlem Township, Ohio — with a link to a GoFundMe page. Harlem Community Playground is 501 (C) 3 organization, and all donations are tax deductible.
Reminiscent of the old “Burma Shave” rhyming roadside signs, a series along the Harlem Township Community Park trail seeks support for the playground additions. They read, “Swings and slides / Don’t grow on trees / Want to help? / GoFundMe please.”
“By the way, we are 60% of the way to our $5,000 goal,” said a Facebook post on Tuesday. On April 8, a $3,000 reimbursement grant towards the cost of the swing was awarded to the playground group by the Delaware County Board of Developmental Disabilities.
On May Day, volunteers planted native trees adjacent to the park in memory of loved ones, and are said to “grow up right along with the kids.”
More information on the playground is also available on the township’s website: https://harlemtwp.com/playground.
Gary Budzak may be reached at 740-413-0906 or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.