After years of planning, Milford will soon unveil the state’s second Can Do Playground, which features equipment that can cater to the needs of any child.
While some children already got a shot at swinging around and letting loose on the approximately half-acre play area on Saturday during the Girls on the Run 5K, an official ribbon cutting is scheduled for 1 p.m. on Dec. 4 to unveil Milford’s latest play place.
The project was spearheaded by six local Rotary Clubs and sponsored by dozens of local organizations and legislators who raised the $850,000 needed to construct a play area that can meet the needs of disabled children.
“It’s been a long, tough process with the economy and overall, with the land that’s been donated by the city, it’s almost a million-dollar project,” said Joe Cuccinello, fundraising co-chair of the project. “It’s been a lot of work and we’re excited about it finally being completed.”
The only other Can Do playground in the state is located in Wilmington, and Cuccinello said that, according to surveys done at the Wilmington facility, people have traveled more than three hours to bring their children to play. He expects the same will happen at the Milford facility.
“It’s going to benefit a lot of people and can be a great economic boost in the area,” Cuccinello said. “If they’re traveling, they’ll hit other stores and have lunch or do some tax-free shopping.”
Cuccinello also noted Milford’s location between Dover and the beaches as a prime location for Delaware’s second Can Do Playground, in addition to the city’s donation of land for the facility. The new playground is located behind the Greater Milford Boys & Girls Club off Airport Road.
Construction on the playground began in the fall of 2012, Carmean said, although fundraising for the project began in 2009. Milford Parks and Recreation Department will be in charge of the park maintenance.
The Can Do Playground features a variety of perks, including a four-inch rubber base on play areas for extra safety, wheelchair ramps to access raised sandboxes and chairs and swings to safely strap children with conditions such as cerebral palsy.
“The minute you see some of the playground equipment, you’ll realize what it’s designed for, although any kid could play on it,” said City Manager Richard Carmean. “It really is one of those things where, if you have a child who has special needs, you will definitely drive 60 or 70 miles for them to enjoy something like this. I’m just glad it’s here.”