New event series brings families to the Lewisboro Town Park for a good cause
The Lewisboro Playground Improvement Corporation (LPIC) tonight will host “Evenings in the Park,” the first event in a series designed to raise funds for a modern, inclusive play space at the Lewisboro Town Park. LPIC leaders hope that the event series will raise awareness for, and funds needed to break ground on what they say is a sorely needed update to Lewisboro’s Town Park playground.
“We aim to create a safe, modern and attractive space that not only considers those with less typical development and younger children but also challenges older and more physically advanced kids,” says the non-profit group’s mission statement.
The idea to modernize Lewisboro’s existing playground came from a group of parents dissatisfied with the status quo. They noticed that the Lewisboro Town Park’s facilities were under-attended and in need of updating. Families were driving to neighboring towns such as Ridgefield to access more modern and well-maintained play spaces. Rather than settle, the group decided to organize to make change.
In December 2019, LPIC presented its plans to the Lewisboro Town Board. The Board gave the go-ahead to proceed, so long as the group could raise the necessary funds. Just as plans for the first fundraising event were coming together, COVID hit, stopping progress before it even started.
The pandemic delayed fundraising and progress for a full year, but also helped to underscore the need for quality play areas close to home.
“Since being home, people want to be home,” said Valerie Cancro, Project Manager for the Improvement Project. “They want outdoor spaces not only for kids, but for adults, too.”
LPIC worked with Landscape Structures, a Minnesota-based playground manufacturer that specializes in inclusive and nature-inspired playgrounds, to envision a thoughtfully designed outdoor space suitable for multi-generations. Plans include a wheelchair-accessible merry-go-round, a seesaw that accommodates both kids and adults, a sensory music area, a zip line for children with limited upper body mobility and more.
This spring, as the pandemic began to recede, LPIC decided it was time to restart fundraising efforts and to spread the word about the project.
“We have had such a great response from the community, getting local businesses involved,” said Dina Carelli, Director of Fundraising. Houlihan Lawrence, Cooney Tree Service, Giner Realty and others are sponsoring the Evenings in the Park series. Gosset Brothers Nursery is the first local business to sponsor a piece of playground equipment, a fire truck ride-on. Carelli and other LPIC members have also been working closely with the town board to apply for grants to help offset costs. Community members can donate a customized to be paved into the new playground.
The total amount of funds raised through all donations and grants will determine the scope of the final project. LPIC has outlined four phases of the project so that they can continuously evaluate how fundraising is going and when they can start work. Phase one includes a play structure for children age 2-5 and phase two has a play structure for kids age 5-12. By phase four, community members can look forward to additional free-standing pieces, such as the merry-go-round and seesaw. The goal is to begin construction in the spring of 2022.
Tonight’s family-friendly, ticketed event, which LPIC hopes will go a long way toward fulfilling fundraising goals, will feature food trucks, live music from local bands, and raffles. Attendees are encouraged to come hungry; food vendors will include Road Grub Mobile, Poké Motion, Salsa Fresca and ice cream from The Farmer’s Grind. Ridgefield’s School of Rock will perform from 5:00 – 7:00 p.m., followed by Platinum Moon from 7:30-9:30 p.m. The remaining two events will take place on July 10 and August 6. Tickets are $12 for adults, and $6 for kids. Children under 3 are free.
Josephine Berisha, LPIC’s Director of Outreach, said, “I feel like people are really excited about this. I’m hoping that this will bring our community together to have some fun and be outside again.”