The fundamental belief behind the concept is “that in order to build and sustain vibrant communities, we must offer children opportunities to connect with nature,” according information from the organizers.
The work began last summer when the outdated playground equipment was removed. That was followed by a series of community meetings where ideas were solicited.
Now Community Center Board members Sharlene Miller-Pizza and Bill Steinauer, along with Chris Mansfield, the founder of Embrace Design Group, an architectural visualization and design firm in Warwick, Richard Pillar, a local landscape architect, and Daniel Mack, consultant and local rustic furniture maker, have put those ideas on paper.
“In the design are many areas where children ages 2 to 100 can dig, climb, build, pretend, reflect and just imagine,” organizers said in the press release detailing the effort.
The detailsThe areas will include small and large loose parts (think natural tinker toys), an intermittent dry/moist stream running along the border with natural habitat, small bog gardens and water that will be furnished by the down spouts of the community center.
There will be sound and sensory gardens for creative and imaginative play.
Nesting areas will be accessible by exploring and wandering through the three-pine area.
A palisade of tree trunks going back to Lenape Indians will lead to a contemplative story-telling area under a mature dogwood tree.
The already existing community orchard on top of the hill will be the finish line to an adventurous sloped walkway with stone overlooks and a slide, bringing you back down to the area.
There will also be areas where children can “paint” murals, dig in a large sand pile and be the main attraction on a stage that will also serve as an Adirondack lean-to.
The work aheadThe Warwick Valley Community Center is working with the Village of Warwick, the Bellvale Community and local parent groups to develop a cooperative “Warwick Play Trail” that would brand Warwick as a place to visit to experience several different kinds of play for children.
“This design is the beginning to what will be a phase-based project,” organizers said, “and will continue to grow over time with the addition of future outdoor education activities.”
There are a number of ways to get involved: by volunteering, by donating and by suggesting a name for the play area.
© 2020 Warwick Valley Chamber of Commerce