GovernmentThe Examiner

Community to Help Rebuild First of Three Pleasantville Playgrounds

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An image of what will be the upgraded playground at Pleasantville’s Nannahagen Park, which is scheduled to be done in the upcoming year.

When you see the design for the brand-new playground that will grace Nannahagen Park next spring, you wish you were a kid again.

Sure, there’s a variety of swings, curved slides, climbing ramps and grab bars, but get this – there’s also bongo drums, talking tubes at either end of the playground and a small play storefront.

The playground was designed by eight Pleasantville residents who volunteered their time to devise what they believed would delight youngsters between two and 12 years old. The cooperative effort is part of a nationwide trend known as Community Built Playgrounds where local members help plan and build play areas.

The new Nannahagen Park playground is the first of three playgrounds at Pleasantville parks slated to be rebuilt over the next three years. Soldiers and Sailors Park and Roselle Park will follow. All three playgrounds are more than 20 years old.

Nannahagan was first on the list to be upgraded because of increased summer use, especially by children attending the village’s summer camp.

Pleasantville resident Diana Becker, a member of a volunteer committee that formed to improve the village’s playgrounds, said it has been satisfying to personally invest in the village. Becker, who grew up in Pleasantville, has three sons from one to five years old. After submitting her name to be part of the group, she found out her mother worked with a similar Pleasantville group 20 years ago.

“When I told my mom, she laughed. Now it feels like working with this group has come full circle in my family,” Becker said.

Other volunteers serving on the committee are Liz Praino, Liz Manuele, Brett Giarrusso, Eddie Wilders, Kathleen Alvarez, Jennifer Goldblatt and Mike Zaino.

Superintendent of Parks and Recreation Mike Newman recently presented the final plans of the redesigned playground to the Village Board.

“This was a great group who came together and held the same common ground,” Newman said. “Some favored a mix of old school playground fixtures such as platforms and slides and some liked new school climbing features and lots of creative play areas.”

Newman and parks foreman Mario Sansotta worked with the group and were presented with different proposals by a representative from the Westbury, N.Y.-based Site Specialists Ltd. The company is known for working with community volunteers.

The estimated cost for the new Nannahagen playground is $152,000. According to Village Administrator Eric Morrissey, the project will be paid for by the village’s parkland trust funds, which is comprised of required fees paid for by local developers.

Once the money for the Nannahagen playground upgrade has been paid, the village will receive a $91,000 reimbursement from a state Dormitory Authority grant.

Morrissey said former assemblyman Tom Abinanti secured equal grant money for the playgrounds at Soldiers and Sailors and Roselle Park.

Alvarez, whose children are four and seven years old, said the new playground has features kids will love.

“I’m outside every day with kids,” Alvarez said. “I can see what they love about the playground and what parts don’t work. The Nannahagen playground will be great.”

Among the many considerations were the size of the play area, the number of kids expected to use the playground, types of equipment and games and activities youngsters enjoy.

The Nannahagen Park playground is expected to be dismantled during the winter. Newman said when the delivery date for the equipment and materials is confirmed, the committee will reach out to the community to help it build the new playground.

“It’s nice to feel I have a real stake and value in the community,” said Goldblatt who lives near Roselle Park and has two children, ages four and six. “Part of the charm of Pleasantville is how close-knit the community is. For me personally, working on the playground has been really exciting. It feels like I’m actually partaking in something that brings value to the community.”





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