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New Austin Park playground to be ready in May

PARCS group now seeking volunteers to help construction

A computer-generated image of one part of the proposed new playground equipment. The playground is designed for children ages 2-12, with an adult fitness section also intended.

A computer-generated image of one part of the proposed new playground equipment. The playground is designed for children ages 2-12, with an adult fitness section also intended.

— The new playground at Austin Park, currently being planned by a group of community parents, is ahead of schedule thanks to mild winter weather and is less than 70 days away from construction.

“It is happening in May,” said Kristin Rossi, a member of the Parks and recreation Council of Skaneateles. “The ground is already cleared, the old equipment is gone and the village has been really helpful and supportive.”

For the final phase of the playground rebuilding, PARCS is now seeking volunteers to help physically build the playground the weekend of May 18 through 20, and is still asking for donations to reach the $152,000 fundraising goal, which the group is “just shy” of making, Rossi said.

The Austin Park playground improvement project began last June by a core group of local parents and community members who felt the playground at that time was old, outdated and unsafe. Fundraising and visibility of the project took off in July when the family of 22-month-old Cameron Leigh Kenan, who died in July and whose mother was also a member of PARCS, requested donations be made to PARCS in lieu of flowers.

Since that time, PARCS has raised more than $100,000 for the project.

PARCS, working with playground design company Parkitects, Inc., has designed a new playground that will include equipment, sandboxes, fitness areas, state-of-the-art safety surfacing, wheelchair accessibility and will be, overall, significantly larger and more spread out than the old layout. There also is the intention of returning green space to the park with the addition of new grass, shrubs, bushes and trees.

“I think this is going to be a very special place for kids and grown-ups alike,” said Rossi, the mother of two young children.

The actual construction of the new playground is scheduled to occur Friday, May 18 through Sunday, May 20 and is intended to be done completely by local volunteers.

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