New castle playground site-plan unveiled in Wilmington


No more splinters, plus new elements

By Gary Huffenberger - ghuffenberger@wnewsj.com



Wilmington Parks & Recreation Director Jermaine Isaac, right foreground, speaks to children and their parents Friday before turning the program over to playground designer Jim Houghton of Leathers & Associates. For more photos from the event, please visit wnewsj.com.

Wilmington Parks & Recreation Director Jermaine Isaac, right foreground, speaks to children and their parents Friday before turning the program over to playground designer Jim Houghton of Leathers & Associates. For more photos from the event, please visit wnewsj.com.


Gary Huffenberger | News Journal

Wilmington Parks & Recreation Director Jermaine Isaac, right, plays with a child in trying to keep a balloon aloft prior to the Friday event to help kick start a new castle playground.


Gary Huffenberger | News Journal

Kiddos listen closely to hear plans for a new castle playground at Wilmington City Parks.


Gary Huffenberger | News Journal

From left in the foreground are playground designer Jim Houghton and Wilmington Mayor John Stanforth.


Gary Huffenberger | News Journal

From left are Zack Delaney, Kathryn Hardin and Seven Spann.


Gary Huffenberger | News Journal

Unveiled Friday was this basic site plan for a new castle playground.


Gary Huffenberger | News Journal

Playground designer Jim Houghton of Leathers & Associates, right, is enthusiastic about designing playgrounds.


Gary Huffenberger | News Journal

Plans for a new castle playground received good reviews from the younger set.


Gary Huffenberger | News Journal

Lucy Butcher is very pleased with the designs for a new castle playground.


Gary Huffenberger | News Journal

WILMINGTON — A new castle playground is intended to capture the feel of the existing castle playground and yet be unique, a designer said Friday when the basic site plan was unveiled.

A major difference is that the new structure will be built with a material that, though it looks like wood, will not splinter, said designer Jim Houghton of Leathers & Associates out of Ithaca, New York. The material derives from recycled milk jugs.

Among the proposed features of the new castle playground are a cat walk, a long wavy slide, a rope climb, a big twisty tube slide, a manhole climber, a wiggly bridge, benches for parents, and a giant spider web trampoline. Mention of that last component produced some “ooh” sounds from children at the Friday event in city hall.

Houghton also mentioned a four-seat teeter totter, a tire swing, a pirate ship treehouse, “the climbinator,”a fire pole to slide down, a balance beam, a bouncy banana beam, two sets of monkey bars (one of which moves), a tight rope, a phone box to carry a voice, a cave and a spider web climber.

The climbinator, said Houghton, is like a rock wall except it has a big space in the middle and it moves. “Whoa,” said a child.

Those attractions are in the older kids area. In the separated Tot Lot area, for ages 2 to 5, are a bridge, a dog house, a swing, a bouncy plane, a bouncy see-saw and more.

Leathers & Associates assisted with the community project when Wilmington’s first castle playground was built more than 20 years ago. The new project will involve contractors on site, but also community volunteers, said Leathers.

The state’s recent Capital Budget directed $250,000 to Wilmington Parks & Recreation for the project. There remains a need for about $250,000 more, said Wilmington Parks & Recreation Director Jermaine Isaac.

Fundraising will include reaching out for corporate donations and sponsorships, he said. The new castle playground will replace the old one at J.W. Denver Williams Jr. Memorial Park off Fife Avenue.

Time frame for the project depends a lot on fundraising, said Isaac, but the aim is fall 2019.

Around since 1971, Leathers & Associates has been involved with designing more than 3,400 playgrounds, states its website.

Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768.

Wilmington Parks & Recreation Director Jermaine Isaac, right foreground, speaks to children and their parents Friday before turning the program over to playground designer Jim Houghton of Leathers & Associates. For more photos from the event, please visit wnewsj.com.
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2018/05/web1_DSC_0013-1.jpgWilmington Parks & Recreation Director Jermaine Isaac, right foreground, speaks to children and their parents Friday before turning the program over to playground designer Jim Houghton of Leathers & Associates. For more photos from the event, please visit wnewsj.com. Gary Huffenberger | News Journal

Wilmington Parks & Recreation Director Jermaine Isaac, right, plays with a child in trying to keep a balloon aloft prior to the Friday event to help kick start a new castle playground.
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2018/05/web1_DSC_0010-1.jpgWilmington Parks & Recreation Director Jermaine Isaac, right, plays with a child in trying to keep a balloon aloft prior to the Friday event to help kick start a new castle playground. Gary Huffenberger | News Journal

Kiddos listen closely to hear plans for a new castle playground at Wilmington City Parks.
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2018/05/web1_DSC_0019-1.jpgKiddos listen closely to hear plans for a new castle playground at Wilmington City Parks. Gary Huffenberger | News Journal

From left in the foreground are playground designer Jim Houghton and Wilmington Mayor John Stanforth.
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2018/05/web1_DSC_0032-1.jpgFrom left in the foreground are playground designer Jim Houghton and Wilmington Mayor John Stanforth. Gary Huffenberger | News Journal

From left are Zack Delaney, Kathryn Hardin and Seven Spann.
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2018/05/web1_DSC_0009-1.jpgFrom left are Zack Delaney, Kathryn Hardin and Seven Spann. Gary Huffenberger | News Journal

Unveiled Friday was this basic site plan for a new castle playground.
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2018/05/web1_DSC_0014-1.jpgUnveiled Friday was this basic site plan for a new castle playground. Gary Huffenberger | News Journal

Playground designer Jim Houghton of Leathers & Associates, right, is enthusiastic about designing playgrounds.
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2018/05/web1_DSC_0022-2.jpgPlayground designer Jim Houghton of Leathers & Associates, right, is enthusiastic about designing playgrounds. Gary Huffenberger | News Journal

Plans for a new castle playground received good reviews from the younger set.
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2018/05/web1_DSC_0023-1.jpgPlans for a new castle playground received good reviews from the younger set. Gary Huffenberger | News Journal

Lucy Butcher is very pleased with the designs for a new castle playground.
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2018/05/web1_DSC_0027-1.jpgLucy Butcher is very pleased with the designs for a new castle playground. Gary Huffenberger | News Journal
No more splinters, plus new elements

By Gary Huffenberger

ghuffenberger@wnewsj.com