Mansfield Group Proposing Community Playground

They envision a place close to the new Storrs Center that will be a gathering place for moms, kids and caregivers.


A local group backing the creation of a “community playground,” has kicked off a fundraising campaign to raise the $150,000 it estimates the playground will cost.

The Advisory Council of ’s group has been working for about two years on the project and recently had preliminary plans drawn up for the playground, which would be built on land the town owns behind the municipal community center.

The town has expressed its interest in backing the proposal and this week the sent it to the for its opinions.

Sara Anderson, the general coordinator of the committee overseeing the project, said the group wants to create a gathering place not just for children, but also for their families and caregivers. Other playgrounds in town, such as those at town schools or public parks, are either unavailable to families during the day, are in disrepair or are not centrally located.

The Community Playground the group envisions would be created close enough to the new project on Route 195 to dovetail nicely with the new downtown center that is being created by that project, Anderson said.

“We want to provide a playground that’s accessible to all children, one that would be a draw for our entire community, and which would also be part of the downtown effort, to be part of that whole experience.”

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Plans for the new playground were developed about two weeks ago by a design firm the committee hired. The designers, Anderson said, spent hours interviewing children in the town’s schools to get their ideas and input on what should be included in a community playground. Some of the children made drawings of their ideas in their classrooms.  Some of the kids’ suggestions include a jungle castle, a dragon slide and a maze.

After getting the kids’ input, she said, the designers drafted a preliminary proposal. You can see a PDF of that plan above.

The playground, Anderson said, would be hand-built by local volunteers from composite materials that the committee would pick out “instead of just picking pieces out of a catalog and having it installed.”

Earlier this month the steering committee for the project kicked off its fundraising campaign and its efforts to find local volunteers. The town has set aside a page on its website where people can make donations.

One of the first fundraising initiatives that the playground group recently kicked off, Anderson said, is called “By a Board For $3.” Every $3 donated will go toward buying one of the components needed to construct the playground. She said the price point was set low enough so that children can contribute.

Anderson said backers are hoping to construct the playground by the spring of 2013.

“The process that we’re going through is going to be a wonderful process for the community, a community-building process,” she said.

ric hossack May 17, 2012 at 02:56 PM
While certainly I agree that children need playgrounds and an "all volunteer" effort is commendable, the bottom line is this project will cost taxpayers. I see no mention in this article of the land purchase required from UConn or the continued costs after the playground is completed [maintenance, replacement costs, etc] The list of taxpayer funded projects in Mansfield grows and grows. When is enough going to be enough?
Jonathan Sgro May 17, 2012 at 03:47 PM
can we get a higher-resolution PDF of the plans? looks nice but i want to see the details.
Sara Anderson May 21, 2012 at 05:43 PM
No property will be purchased from UConn. We are pursing a long-term lease of the property at a nominal fee. The playground will be made of recycled materials, so maintenance will be minimal. If you have further questions, feel free to contact me at generalcoordinator@mansfieldcommunityplayground.org.
Sara Anderson May 21, 2012 at 05:44 PM
I can send you the original PDF if you contact me at generalcoordinator@mansfieldcommunityplayground.org.


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