Just a few weeks ago, the space now occupied by a playground at the Factoryville Borough/Clinton Township Joint Municipal Park was nothing but grass and trees.
Although the playground was built in one day, the project took about 18 months. Volunteers and children offered dreams of how they would want the park to look, which culminated in the Saturday, June 7, community build.
Sadie Rozenburg, who is Factoryville Borough’s grant writer, conceptualized the idea after taking her daughter to a soccer game at the park, located at 154 Creek Road. Seeing that there was no place for children to play while waiting for their siblings, she began to think about and research ways for the space to be used. Rozenburg applied for various grants, including a $20,000 “Let’s Play” grant from Dr. Pepper Snapple Group and KaBOOM!, a national non-profit organization dedicated to getting children outdoors. Through her efforts, Factoryville was also named a “Playful City USA” by KaBOOM in 2013.
“The community is filled with excitement,” Rozenburg said. “Everyone is excited to have a place for kids to go and to utilize this space. We’ve had this park here but there hasn’t been anything for them to do here, except for soccer. Now there is something here for them to enjoy.”
Students from Lackawanna Trail Elementary Center, as well as the preschools at Keystone College and the Factoryville United Methodist Church, were asked to design what their dream park would look like. In the more than 500 designs received by Factoryville Borough and Clinton Township officials, one design stuck out the most, as Factoryville Playground Taskforce volunteer Jeanne Moran said.
“When the children did their designs for a dream playground, the recurring theme was a treehouse,” she said. “We found a company that was able to help create something that would look like one here. We are all so thrilled that the first steps have been completed. We are so excited.”
With the opening of the new playground, phase one of the overall project for the Factoryville Borough/Clinton Township Joint Municipal Park is now complete; however there are still additional plans in the works. Rozenburg said that the Factoryville Playground Task Force is now looking into ways to develop walking trails to link the park with all of downtown Factoryville. Plans are also set for the eventual addition of swingsets as well as a playground for children ages 2-5. The current playground is geared more toward children ages 5-12.
“We are looking at writing a grant right now, hopefully by next month, to pay for planning for trails, which would be our next step,” Rozenburg said. “We want a good plan from a landscape architect who is comfortable with trails to see what the best way is to connect. We want the park to keep expanding.”
Pennsylvania state Senator Lisa Baker, who lent support to applications for the park, feels that the playground will cement the borough status as a place for children.
“Factoryville truly is the playground community,” she said. “This just enhances their goal of encouraging play and activity in the outdoors. The design is awesome and I think many children will spend hours and hours enjoying this great facility. “It will be a safe and secure place for children to play, as well as a wonderful community asset.”
For more information, visit factoryville.org or call 570-702-2779. To learn more about the Factoryville Playground Taskforce, visit facebook.com/FactoryvillePlaygroundTaskforce.