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Construction Begins on New Ballantine Park Playground

Kids of all ages should be playing on the new equipment by mid-April.

Photo Credit: Town of Southbury
Photo Credit: Town of Southbury
Construction has begun on Southbury’s new Ballantine Park Playground and a ribbon-cutting ceremony has been scheduled for April 12, right after the annual Easter Egg Hunt at 10 a.m.

The new playground will feature state-of-the-art equipment designed specifically for two age ranges of children: one section for ages 2 to 5 years old and another for those ages 5 to 12 years old.

The playground is also split into six distinctive areas: Scale, Challenge, Interaction, Inclusion, Diversity and Engagement. The playground’s elements are designed and were selected to promote child development through play, health and learning.

“We were pleased to be able to obtain $125,000 in LoCIP [Local Capital Improvement Program] funding to replace this aging playground with new, state-of-the-art equipment,” First Selectman Ed Edelson said. “This new facility should provide many fun-filled days for our children to enjoy.”

“The old playground, while grandfathered in from a regulatory perspective, no longer met the guidelines set forth by the Consumer Product Safety Commission or the American Standards for Testing and Materials standards. Most important, it wasn’t up to our own standards for the children of Southbury,” Ronald Kalban, Director, Southbury Parks and Recreation Department, said. “We are very excited to provide this fantastic upgrade to Ballantine Park that we expect will be enjoyed by kids and families in Southbury for many years to come.”

The new playground will feature spinners, a climber, slides, swings, balancing components and much more. It will also be compliant with the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) and be totally accessible.

The new playground is the latest in a series of ongoing renovations and improvements that have been completed and are being considered at Ballantine Park, including the new Pool House at the Southbury Town Pool and the installation of new, modern kitchen equipment last summer in the Ballantine Park Pavilion.

“We are pleased to provide this playground for our children,” Charlie Rosa, Chairman of the Parks and Recreation Commission added. “The activities and imagination of children influenced by their environment are much different in 2014 than 1970, although their need for physical and challenging exercise is still the same.”

Demolition of the old playground — parts of which date back to 1970 — as well as preparations for installing the new playground began the week of March 23. According to a date etched in concrete, the playground at Ballantine Park was originally installed 44 years ago with the newest addition, the Tot Lot, more than 20 years old. Almost all of the components were outdated and many parts of the playground, such as the wooden seesaws, had to previously be removed for safety reasons.  

While most of the old playground’s components are outdated and worn, elements of the Tot Lot were still in pretty good shape. The Parks and Recreation Commission contacted Kids Around the World, a registered 501c(3) non-profit organization, which has built over 330 playgrounds for children in more than 50 countries worldwide.

Julie Rearick, Regional Director of Kids Around the World, will be coming to Southbury prior to the installation of the new playground and dismantling the Tot Lot. It will then be refurbished and shipped to a village in Haiti for continued enjoyment by children.

Based off a release from the First Selectman's Office.

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