It took five years to build the $850,000, 32,600-square-foot Can-Do Playground in Milford, and dozens of Delawareans celebrated the efforts of project contributors during a dedication and grand opening ceremony on May 9.
With the completion of the second Can-Do Playground in Delaware, kids of all abilities now have a place to play.
“Kids who normally couldn’t go to a playground now have a playground to go to,” said Peggy Anderson, who has been involved with the project since 2009. “That’s what it’s all about – just making children’s lives happier.”
It took five years to build the $850,000, 32,600-square-foot playground, which was celebrated by dozens of Delawareans during a dedication and grand opening ceremony on Friday. The Can-Do Playground committee also received another donation, a $25,000 grant from Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Philadelphia Region, Inc.
The Can-Do playground in Milford, which is located at Tony Silicato Memorial Park behind the Greater Milford Boys & Girls Club on Airport road, is equipped with ramps, multi-sensory stations, specialty swings and is completely barrier-less, making it accessible to all children and accommodating to children with disabilities.
The first Can-Do playground, located at Alapocas Run State Park in Wilmington, opened in 2007 and planted the seed for more playgrounds of its kind throughout the First State, explained Tom Talley, who helped with the first, second and is hoping for a third boundless playground in the near future. Both playgrounds were developed in conjunction with the National Center for Boundless Playgrounds, a non-profit established in 1997 to help create inclusive playgrounds throughout the U.S. and Canada.
“In Delaware, there are about 8,000 children not institutionalized who have physical, sensory or developmental disabilities, and this [playground] is an opportunity to develop physical skills, social skills and enjoy playing,” Talley said as he noted special equipment to help with balance and the playground’s wide ramps. “Now they can all go to the same playground and enjoy each other. The more children and families we can touch, that’s what we’re all about – making our community a better place.”
Planning and fundraising for the playground began with six local Rotary Clubs – the Harrington-Greenwood-Felton Centennial Rotary, the Lewes-Rehoboth Rotary, the Milford Rotary, the Milford Mispillion Rotary, the Nanticoke-Seaford Rotary and the Rehoboth Sunrise Rotary – and grew to include a slew of other local businesses, organizations and individual donors including the City of Milford, the Longwood Foundation, Milford Lions Club and It’s All Good in Delaware, just to name a few.
The Can-Do committee will continue accepting donations for an endowment fund that will supplement any needed replacements, repairs or upgrades to the playground, Rutt explained. Rutt also said that the committee is willing to repay the support received during this project by helping other Rotary Clubs build another playground.
“The Wilmington clubs helped us, so we’re here to help them,” Rutt said.
Milford Parks and Recreation Director Gary Emory also presented plans for an ADA-accessible restroom on site, which will cost about $55,000.
“The kids deserve something more than a Porto potty,” he said.
But even without a restroom, families and their children already have been enjoying the new public park since its completion in December.
“We did this for the children who may not have ever been able to play on a playground because of physical or mental disabilities,” said Can-Do Committee Chairman David Rutt to the dozens of Delawareans showing their support for the playground on Friday. “This is dedicated to the children and the families of the Delmarva peninsula.”
For more information, visit candoplayground.org.