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For the kids gathered at Rose Tree Park, 15 minutes was almost too long to wait for a playground that had been over two years in the making.
On Thursday, Delaware County officials inaugurated the “destination playground” in Upper Providence Township. Officials hope that the $2 million project’s state-of-the-art equipment and accessible design will draw in visitors of all abilities from within and outside the county.
Elaine Paul Schaefer, vice chair of the Delaware County Council, spoke briefly about the importance of the playground’s universally accessible design.
“When we were designing this, we were very cognizant of all of the different age levels that come here, all of the different ability levels,” Schaefer said. “We want this to be welcoming to every family in the entire county.”
Rose Tree Park’s playground is the second playground of its kind in the county, the other one being CADES Inclusive Playground in Swarthmore. The new playground features ADA-compliant ramps, a bird’s nest swing, and a carousel flush with the ground. Other improvements include stormwater infrastructure and an expanded pedestrian mall connecting to the amphitheater and rear parking lot.
This playground is part of the county’s commitment this year to spend more than $9 million on its parks and open spaces. Over $17 million has already been invested within the past three-and-a-half years as part of the Delco Greenways Grant Program. The Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources awarded the project a $200,000 grant, which went toward design and construction.
Senator Tim Kearney noted the significance of the playground’s opening.
“This is really indicative of a sea change of county government in terms of their priorities,” Kearney said. “To really put their money where their mouth is in terms of green space has been really refreshing and wonderful, and we’re quite happy in the state Senate to be supporters with the state in terms of getting things built.”
For seven-year-old Grace and Emily, today was the first in likely many visits to come.
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